Concord High School seniors walk out of class to protest lost privileges

  • Concord High School seniors Ada Cowan, Rosie Seekamp, and Fiona Adams hold signs out of walking out of class on September 17 to protest the school's refusal to grant open campus privileges to seniors during their free periods. Cassidy Jensen—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 9/17/2021 2:29:01 PM

Seniors at Concord High School are asking the school to restore privileges that have traditionally allowed fourth-year students to leave campus during periods when they are not in class.

In protest of the closed-campus policy, a group of seniors walked out of their classes Friday morning. Senior Fiona Adams said nearly 20 students had walked out of the class at 11 a.m., the day after Principal Mike Reardon hosted an hour-long meeting with the senior class to discuss the policy.

The seven students holding signs in front of the school on Warren Street at 11:15 a.m. said they walked out because they disagree with the school administration’s decision to curtail senior privileges without consultation with students or parents.

“The right to leave campus if you don’t have a class, we believe it really fosters independence,” Adams said. “When we don’t have a class, all seniors gather in one room for a study. I think that’s more risky for COVID because we’re all in one room together.”

The group argued that they deserve the privileges usually granted to seniors, particularly since the class has had to deal with high school during a pandemic and revelations of sexual misconduct by two teachers.

“They’re handling things horribly and they don’t understand how that is affecting every single student here,” Rosie Seekamp said.

Reardon said the change was intended to help students adjust to the expectations of in-person school after a year and a half of remote learning.

“My rationale for starting the year without senior privileges was to have an orderly and stable school environment where kidJs are coming back into the building on a regular basis,” he said.

Adams said the students protesting the change are planning to circulate a petition and potentially stage more walkouts.

Another group of students prepared a formal proposal for an open campus policy and allows seniors to have more flexibility to move around the building. Reardon said he plans to review the plan with school staff and with the rest of the senior class.

“I’m very proud of the kids that did the hard work,” he said. “That’s a truly educational experience for those kids, and for us to work with them to come up with some type of resolution.”

Reardon said any students who walked out will face consequences for skipping class, including penalties for any student-athletes who were involved.

“What would civil disobedience be without consequences?” he said.

Cassidy Jensen bio photo

Cassidy Jensen has been a reporter at the Monitor, covering the city of Concord and criminal justice, since July 2021. Previously, she was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, where she earned a master's degree. Her work has been published in Documented, THE CITY, Washington City Paper and Street Sense Media. When she's not at City Council meetings, you can find her hiking in the White Mountains.

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