The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Students protest

September 19, 2022

While students’ disapproval of the administration runs deep, the Aug. 24 protest was planned relatively last minute. According to Victor, the terms of the protest were unclear and subject to change.

“It was originally supposed to be a walkout, but it kind of just turned into a protest,” Victor said. “We were also originally going to do it during first period but changed it to lunch. So we weren’t disturbing any classes or anything.”

All communication was via a group chat on school computers. Protesters made threatening remarks in jest about the school and its administration, which they attest to having had no intention of executing. 

“They were texting ‘we should go like mob [the student culture coordinator’s] room,’ and this one kid said something like ‘this is gonna become a terrorist attack’ as a joke. I don’t know why they didn’t realize that the teachers were going to see all of this,” Victor said.

These messages had very different implications for the different parties involved. While the students may have seen them as jokes, the administration took them seriously.

“It’s just a bunch of high school boys joking about how they’re going to do something with no intention of actually doing it. But in the administration’s and the teachers’ eyes, that looks like they’re going to do it,” Jordan said.

Another element of the protest that believed warranted disciplinary action was when students began breaking open their Yondr pouches.

“There was this magnet to unlock all the Yondr pouches. My friend had the magnet, so everybody unlocked their phones because they were trying to rebel,” Victor said.

While opening the Yondr pouches is an undisputed example of protesters breaking school policy, the harassment of a teacher prompted some debate.

According to Victor, who was in the front of the crowd during the protest, no one intentionally touched a staff member. He described how the person at the very front of the group was pushed into the student culture coordinator by the crowd, raising their hands and saying, “It’s not me. I’m being pushed. I’m being pushed.”

Despite no confirmation of physical harassment, the student culture coordinator did have reason to feel targeted by the protest’s chants. According to multiple students and an email sent to the community, one of the chants was “Hey, ho, hey, ho, [the administrator’s name] has got to go.” administration refused to share its account of the events of Aug. 24 but instead expressed the school’s view on the protest. 

“Design Tech does not tolerate harassment of any of its community members including students, staff, parents or caregivers,” the statement read.

The actions and emotions of those involved in the protest and the administration’s response had immense impacts on the outcome of the conflict, including transferring students, numerous suspensions, and expulsion hearings.

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