Walking in Solidarity
In the wake of a hate crime, students at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine, host a walk in solidarity to support those who were affected. This video shows how structures like Crew, Courageous Conversations, and a curriculum that focuses on social justice, foster a culture in which students are prepared to act, not just react.
- Friday after school, me and my friends were walking down to the bus stop. All of a sudden, a guy just walks by and is yelling racial slurs.
- [Protestors] No hate, no fear!
- [Male Reporter] Students of Casco Bay High School marched out of school early, protesting what they say was a hate crime.
- He said, “You go back to where you’re from.” And my friend Bobby said, “Why do you think you belong here more than them?” And that’s where a mini conflict happened, when the guy punched my friend Bobby in the face.
- [Female Reporter] In response, both students and teachers at Casco Bay High School decided that action needed to be taken to show support for those students effected.
- I just felt like I kind of didn’t like belong. Like, I guess, where I was standing.
- There was a flood of responses quickly about, “We gotta respond.”
- When I first walked into school on Monday, you could totally feel the climate. Everyone was in shock.
- I quickly knew we needed to involve student leaders in our response.
- [Farhiyo] We had a conversation with the civil rights group. It was a school-wide Courageous Conversation in regards to the indecent. We decided to have and host a march to walk in solidarity with the four students. Being a school with a lot of students who are diverse, Casco Bay High School does a really good job of integrating and making it a very accepting environment for all students.
- We do that through structures that support that happening, whether that’s crew, or teams of teachers working with teams of kids.
- From the very start, from when I was a freshman, I totally got that this school is focused on community.
- We do trips with the freshmen where we send them out in the wild for three days and four nights to really form community and to learn how to battle through the struggles of being with people who aren’t like you. It also happens through everyday, a gazillion actions where adults show compassion and reach out to kids.
- The freshmen are put together in crews, which is basically your family for the rest of the four years that you’re here at Casco Bay High School. Our school has a focus on conflict resolution, that’s really huge. We have this thing called Courageous Conversation.
- [Derek] Whatever students really want to talk about, but are struggling to find a constructive way to do, that’s what these conversations are for.
- [Farhiyo] I don’t think we would have had a very effective Courageous Conversation, that Monday when the incident happened, if we were not prepared to respond the way we did through other conversations that we’ve had.
- People should have Courageous Conversations like Casco Bay does. If they like gain the same support as I and my friends did, then that might influence their mind to influence others not to do what that young adult did and that would make the world a little bit more peaceful.
- The most important things I’ve learned from Expeditionary Learning is the importance of having social justice issues at the core of your curriculum. Kids are getting excited and inspired by it. It’s what gets them engaged, heart and head. The second reason is ‘cause it’s the right thing to do. Because we need kids fighting for social justice issues, we need them prepared to take on the issues of the day, and the sum of kind of the structures and the million everyday actions of the people in those structures is what leads to kids having the courage to bring their full voice to the world.
- [Protestors] No hate, no fear! Everyone is welcome here! No hate!
- [Farhiyo] So the incident showed us how resilient we could be in the face of adversity.
- The whole school went down to march. That’s what Casco is all about, having each other’s backs, being like, I guess like a second family.
- [Farhiyo] We could have chosen to take the other side. We could have chosen to be negative, negative, negative, but we decided to walk peacefully in solidarity and that’s huge.
- [Atak] It just made me feel like I was home and that people cared about me and my friends.