CINCINNATI — Students in the Forest Hills School District plan to walk out of class Wednesday to protest the cancellation of Turpin High School’s Diversity Day.
The school board initially postponed the event so parents could sign releases after reviewing the agenda and speakers. Council members then voted in a special meeting to suspend the event, deciding that it would no longer take place during school hours or use school resources. Board member Leslie Rasmussen declined to vote, accusing his colleagues of making the day “political”.
Students involved in the planning process then came together to organize a student-led diversity day that will take place after school and offsite. Claire Mengel, a senior who helped plan the school-led event, said the students decided the school needed to have a diversity day regardless of the board’s decision.
“In my view the board positions exist to help facilitate child rearing and what the kids are asking for so the kids say what they want the board doesn’t listen to them which unfortunately means we have to step up and play the role of directing it all,” Mengel said.
Turpin’s student-led Diversity Day takes place on May 18 at a location unknown to the general public. That same day, after the end of the second bell, the students will also leave the classroom. In a statement, the district said it was aware of student protests planned for Wednesday.
“The district recognizes and respects the rights of its students to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights to peacefully assemble and express ideas and opinions,” the statement said. “FHSD’s first priority, at all times, is to provide a safe and secure learning environment for every student and we will continue our commitment to maintaining a high level of student safety on campus.”
Diversity Day, an optional event for juniors and seniors that includes activities and guest speakers, has been around for several years.
Turpin Diversity Day will not take place this year, event canceled after school board backlash
‘They made it political’: Students and parents protest Forest Hills BOE vote against Diversity Day