Interview with an admin: walkout

Amplifier talks with Principal Neuman about the walk out regarding the health curriculum.

On Feb. 4 students from West Linn organized a walkout to advocate for the new Oregon health curriculum to be adopted. They protested in favor for the adoption of a new health curriculum.

The walkout became known when shared over social media on Feb. 2. Principal Neuman learned about it over Twitter the Sunday before the walkout. An announcement with a blue heart was posted countless times over Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.

“My understanding,” Neuman said, “Is that students were protesting to have their voices heard.”

Principal Neuman views himself as a firm believer that all students have the right to practice their First Amendment rights peacefully. While he supports students having the right to protest, his priority is different from those of the student body.

“My number one responsibility is student safety,” Neuman said, “I want to make sure everyone is safe. I want student’s voices to be heard but in an orderly fashion and a safe fashion.”

Even though as a principal he supports the student’s First Amendment rights, he recognizes the school’s job isn’t to take a stand on either side of an issue.

“Our job is not to make a stand on the issue being discussed. Our job is to make sure everyone is safe,” Neuman said, “Still, at the end of the day–it’s our job to serve students. I want to serve them safely.”

Principal Neuman shared some of the precautions he takes to ensure student safety, including moving the placement of the protest, so it’s not near cars.

“I’m concerned about kids in the street,” Neuman said, “It’s dangerous when you have a large group of people massing in one area.”

This protest isn’t the first walkout Principal Neuman has experienced. Since the presidential election of 2016, schools across the country have peacefully protested for their rights. These protests have been for things such as student lives to LGBTQ+ rights.

“Most kids turn 18 while they’re still in high school,” Neuman said, “it’s important for their voices to be heard now because their voices are the ones shaping the country.”

For the first time in a while, the youngest generation is inspired to make a change. This generation is a politically charged group, and our student body is no different.

“It doesn’t surprise me students are protesting,” Neuman said, “I’m 47 years old. I’m not 17 anymore, and the older I get, the more faith I have in this generation to do what’s right.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email