Senior leads student walkout


Brandon Hill

The student walkout occurred at 11:00am on Friday, May 12, which led to students walking from the flag pole to Lander Road. Principal Jeff Legan said, “My hope is that our students conduct a peaceful protest in a safe setting.”

Levi Chavis, Guest Writer

Senior Brandon Hill organized a student walkout, which took place on May 12, to protest against the lack of diversity in staffing and courses at Mayfield High School.

Hill wanted to host the walkout due to him not seeing enough done by Mayfield. He said, “I was at the end of my ropes with Mayfield, [and] I wanted to see some change as far as everything for African-American teachers and history. I didn’t think I was getting the right type of response to what I wanted to do and see. This walkout/protest is supposed to show the heads of the school that I’m here to change something, and I want to make a difference.”

The idea for the walkout started when Hill was a junior. He said, “I wanted to do it last year but everyone was telling me to wait and give it time, and that was the thing: I was very patient with Mayfield and letting them say that. Everyone had time frames and everything, but nothing happened. Mayfield probably got busy, but at the same time, I believe they should have given more time to the walkout since it’s such a big thing.”

Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Jacquelyn Baker met with Hill and thought the protest was a great idea but needed more planning. She said, “My questions to him were: What is your goal? What do you want to do with this? He shared with me his goals and they are justifiable because there are 18% of African American students and there are only two African American staff members. And I do understand the end goal and what are the best steps to take to get the message heard, and to get it to the forefront of everybody’s mind.”

Baker also believes that students can really make a change and let their voices be heard with protest. She said, “I came from a school in which students would protest different things and wanted to enact change, and I always feel that students should be empowered to express their feelings, to be encouraged to participate.”

Baker feels that schools need to allow the communities of all cultures to be invited to the table to allow actual diversity in school. She said, “When you talk about diversity, how are you inviting all cultures to the table? How are you encouraging not only your students but also your community members, the parents, and everybody to start to learn about those of different cultures?

“When you are talking about diversity, it’s not a collective group of people making decisions for others that are not at the table,” she said. “You have to invite and give opportunities for others to come to the table to talk about things that they like to see at the schools.”

According to Baker, having a diverse school means having a diverse group of people, which includes getting a diverse staff. She said, “It also starts with programming: what courses do we offer? It also goes so far when we are going out into the community: Who are we serving? Who are we collaborating with? How do we bring all the parents into the building? How are they being invited into the building and being included at the table with their voice? It hits every one of those aspects.”

In preparing for the walkout, Hill felt a bit discouraged, but he’s glad he didn’t cancel the event. He said, “You have to understand that I wasn’t just talking to Mr. Legan or the superintendent. I was talking to teachers around me, [and] I was talking to students. I was getting a lot of pushback from teachers with things like, ‘Well why is this important? Is this really important right now?’ And it just seemed like the idea of it was getting pushed away, and I started to hate it, and I almost gave up on it.

“But then, I realized I wanted to make that change within the system because it’s needed,” he said. “Because I realized that this isn’t about me. This about all the Black students that are coming to Mayfield.”