Students protest newly enforced policies at Bastrop High School
BASTROP, La. (KNOE) - Students at Bastrop High School made their voices heard with a protest on Sept. 29, 2022. It happened around 10:15 a.m. when some students left their classrooms and took signs outside to express their feelings.
Students are protesting policies that have been in place for some time but are newly enforced. Some students said the principal is not listening to their concerns. Meanwhile, the principal told KNOE the fire alarm was pulled throughout the day on Sept. 29 and she’s unsure why, but students said it wasn’t part of the protest.
“We all walked out of the classroom, we walked around the whole school with our posters shouting, then they had us in the cafeteria and we had to stay there for the remainder of the time,” said a senior at BHS, Gerniesha Ridgell.
Ridgell said students were protesting the policy that does not allow cell phones on school grounds. The superintendent of Morehouse Parish Schools, David Gray, said the school board passed the rule over the summer, but it was not enforced until after labor day.
“You know just in case anything could happen, you never know, we need our phones,” said Ridgell.
Gray said if a student is found with a cellphone, they’re placed in the alternative program for fifteen days, but the school has only been enforcing a five-day punishment.
Senior Joseph Fells said another policy students are protesting is the dress code.
“The hoodies, it’s finna get cold outside and we can’t wear no hoodies in school,” said Fells.
Gray said no hoodies allowed in school is not a new policy but it is newly enforced. Fells said students previously tried to speak with the principal about their concerns but said it hasn’t been easy.
“We tried multiple times but some of the times she will throw her hands in our face and say she doesn’t want to talk about it like earlier, they tried to talk to her after the protest and she says she doesn’t want to talk,” said Fells.
KNOE reached out to the principal for an interview, but she declined. Superintendent Gray said he spoke to some students about their concerns.
“We told the kids look, obviously we got to sit down, discuss and give you a voice, so we’ll go through and get some representatives from each class and we’re going to sit down and have some conversations,” said Gray.
Gray said there are better ways to be heard than a protest on school grounds.
“That’s one of the things I was telling the kids this morning, we’ll listen, I’m going to give young adults a voice, there are ways of doing it and there are ways of not doing it,” said Gray.
Gray said he supports the school board’s decisions but is looking forward to sitting down with students next week. He is unsure who pulled the fire alarm and if that was part of the protest.
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