Wednesday, September 15th, at 10:00 AM, the bell of protest rang.
Not a physical bell, but the bell that rang amongst the student body of Baltimore City College as students poured from their classes and out of the door. The students staged a walkout.
Within the two days leading up to this, a group of student organizers designated a time and place. They sent out a message across social media for a call-to-action. They requested support from students of other schools and asked that they gather to protest outside of the Castle on the Hill.
The reason for this call was sexual assault.
Recent allegations and the school’s handling of these allegations caused a ripple of dissatisfaction amongst City’s student body. It brought to light concerns about how City, as well as BCPSS broadly, handles sexual assault cases in school.
So, the student protestors walked out. They left the school. They were not allowed to return to the school building after the protest.
As they rounded the sidewalk surrounding the school’s premises, various students carried signs. One read: “Lack of evidence does not equal ‘it did not happen!’” Another declared: “We deserve sexual assault FREE schools!”
One of the organizers, Joshua Wilson (16, BCC senior), when asked about the purpose of this walkout, said, “It needed to be organized. We have to hold the district accountable. It’s their job to protect us and keep us safe. They failed that job.”
These sentiments echoed across the crowd of what appeared to be at least one hundred students.
After they walked, the protesters settled just below Principal Harcum’s office and began to recall their own experiences of sexual violence and harassment. Each student who stood to give their story was met with calls of encouragement and comfort as they cried, yelled, and demanded change.
Another of the organizers, Trinity James (17, BCC senior), watched students march past and said: “It’s just really hard to be a victim. You’re in pain and you’re in silence. We want people to be heard.”
It can be argued that this was successfully accomplished among the students themselves, but not quite with the school nor the school district.
Students still wait in anticipation of change. As of current, no further action has been pursued by Baltimore City College or BCPSS.