Government / Politics

Students protest on inauguration day

A dozen San Benito High School students skipped a class on Friday to discuss their hopes for the next four years

A small group of San Benito High School students chose to skip their sixth block class on Friday, Jan. 20 — Inauguration Day — to express their hopes and concerns as the country transitions from one president to the next.

They stood in front of the administration building on Monterey Street holding signs with slogans such as "Love is love," "End the war on women," "The climate is changing so why aren't we?" and "My body, my choice."

Associated Student Body President Lauren Klauer, a senior, said she protested because "if you don't protest, people will assume you are OK with it, and I'm not," she said referring to the transfer of presidential power to Donald Trump. Klauer said she had hoped to attend a women's march on Saturday, but instead will be attending a college interview for Harvard.

Klauer made flyers that included websites and contact information for students to express concerns to elected representatives. Students, including members of the school's new Feminist Club, took turns saying what they hope to see over the next four years, which many of them will spend attending college. Topics ranged from mental health advocacy to the future of Planned Parenthood.

"I'm happy there are people here with my similar interests," said Grace Sommers.

Students used a megaphone as a speaker to play the Macklemore song "Same Love" and other tunes they said were designed to inspire peace.

School administrators alerted teachers earlier in the day that a walkout protest had been discussed by some students and Principal Adrian Ramirez noted in an email to staff that the action "has not been initiated or actively supported by school staff or administration — but we are here to keep them safe if they choose to participate. While students have the right to a peaceful protest and to express themselves, hate speech will not be tolerated All students, no matter where their views fall, have a right to a safe, inclusive learning environment."

Ramirez reminded teachers that any missed class time due to participation in a protest or walkout is considered an unexcused absence that subjects students to detention hours.

Some students who participated in the walk-out returned to their sixth block class before the end of the school day.


Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.