Hundreds of students stage walkout at Hillcrest High School

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 7:25 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - There was a student protest Wednesday at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa County. Some 200 students, mostly African-Americans, walked out of class because they say they felt teachers aren’t teaching key parts of Black History Month.

The students walked out the front door of the school around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. The protest eventually made its way closer to the street. As a group, these students felt they were not being heard when it came to sensitive matters such as learning more about slavery and civil rights, or anything related to Black history before the 1970s.

“The protest was passionate and energetic, but peaceful,” said Jamiyah Brown, a senior at Hillcrest High School.

“A lot of y’all may be asking, ‘why a walkout?’” said Brown. “Students were told not to include context on civil rights in the Black History Month programs. Students have been denied to use the bathroom when their menstrual cycles started.”

Tenth grader Sierra Kelley says there was no way she’d miss this.

“We’re all one community. There’s nothing separate between us. We’re all equal,” said Kelley.

The protest grew large enough where a sheriff’s deputy needed to block part of the road in front of the school.

Lisa Young with the Tuscaloosa branch of the NAACP alleges students have felt ‘intimidated’ by the lack of care for Black history.

“We had a forum last Saturday and discovered there is a culture here that’s not conducive to educating. It was more intimidation,” said Young.

Students say they want a meeting with the county school superintendent and members of the Tuscaloosa County school board. The protesters say they would also like to see a school administration that reflects more of its student body. 55% of the school population is Black, according to students.

“As a group, we should come together and fight against this,” said Brown.

The walkout ended about 40 minutes later with students returning to their classrooms - points made, concerns aired, and all indicated there could be another rally.

A statement from the Tuscaloosa County School System:

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