Hear Our Voice

Frustration with school board’s actions lead students to respond with silent protest

Sammy Knickmeyer, Reporter

On Oct. 15, there was a school board meeting held at the Liberty High School auditorium. This board meeting was open for the students, parents, and any other community members to attend. Students were told each person attending would have a 3 minute period where they were able to speak at the meeting. There were two students who intended on speaking, meaning they would have 6 minutes total. This time was cut short due to not enough time being made for the students, which resulted in an overwhelming response of anger and frustration towards the board.

The group of students attended the board meeting hoping they would convince the board to put more consideration into their decision of going to Level 1 learning.

“I wanted to make sure I was able to have my voice heard by the general public,” senior Eric Welker said.

Welker wrote a speech to give at the board meeting. He was able to present this speech, but it was not broadcasted, meaning only the people who attended the meeting in person heard the speech. Welker then decided to film, edit, and post the speech on his Instagram page for the public to see. This is now on @wsdstudentvoices Instagram page.

We wanted something that would get the board’s attention without losing their respect or the credibility we’ve already built with them.”

— Brooke Huffman (12)

On Friday, Oct. 23, students held a protest in response to the events that took place at the board meeting.

“We wanted something that would get the board’s attention without losing their respect or the credibility we’ve already built with them,” senior Brooke Huffman said.

Students originally wanted to stage just a “sick out” in which students would skip school but still complete all work on Friday, Oct. 23. After receiving backlash and wanting options for students who could not skip, organizers decided to offer the option to wear tape on their masks and stay silent throughout the day. A “day of silence.”

The sick out was still a choice that many chose, but the day of silence was more well-received. Each student involved in the protest wore a single piece of duct tape with the phrase “Hear Our Voice” written in sharpie.

Many on social media voiced their opinions on the sick out, explaining that they felt students were trying to skip school.

“We were labeled as kids who just didn’t want to go to school, called entitled and whiny. It was strange. They told us that we couldn’t use our voices because we were ‘just kids’ but criticized us like we were adults,” senior Lizzie Kayser said.

WSD Student Voices hopes to bridge the gap between the School Board and the students, creating ways to collaborate and understand the students’ points of view.