Albert Lea students walk out of class in protest
(ABC 6 News) – Dozens of students walked out of class at Albert Lea high school Tuesday, in a demonstration against the administration.
Around 30 students walked off of school grounds, and across the street to a nearby church after lunch to protest school administrators who students say are ignoring multiple bullying and sexual assault allegations.
The movement started about four weeks ago. Three teen girls were sexually assaulted by another student, according to organizer Elias Hites.
“The principal and the staff team just weren’t doing anything regarding their students’ safety. People getting books thrown at them, pushing downstairs,” 10th grader Elias Hites said.
Elias and her peers say all three girls went to the administration for help, but the students aren’t happy about the way it was handled.
“Someone needs to take a stand,” 11th grader Courtney Oakland said.
Albert Lea Area Schools responded in a statement saying in part:
“When we get a report of this nature we work collaboratively with the police department to do a thorough investigation. We will continue to monitor any reports that are submitted and take all complaints of these allegations seriously.”
For these students, most of them barely 16…walking out wasn’t easy.
“I was very nervous before I did it,” Hites said. Right? Very nerve-wracking,” Cox said.
But now that they’ve done it, they’re reminded why activism is so important.
“We’re not living in the olden ages. It’s 2022. It’s time to stand up to these people who are doing this,” Oakland said.
“If I can make anybody’s life at Albert Lea high school better than my life here, then I’ve succeeded,” 11th grader Aurora Cox said.
The walkout was also about standing up to bullying, many of the students Tuesday said they’ve personally been bullied and that administration hasn’t done anything to hold bullies accountable.