Several Manual students organized a walkout in solidarity with protests over the loss of collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin Union workers. The walkout was planned as a national sign of solidarity with public workers in Wisconsin and around the country. The event at Manual was organized locally by Nash Whaley (12) and Eli Fosl (11).
“The walkout is a symbol of solidarity for public workers whose rights are being threatened. This is not a malicious act against the school or administrators or the state of Kentucky. We are simply showing support to the folks in Wisconsin,” said Whaley.
Originally students were supposed to gather on the practice field, but a morning meeting with the administration altered the plan. Whaley and Ben Wiley (12) met with Principal Larry Wooldridge who asked them to cancel the walkout and opt for a public debate on the issue at a later date.
“I love the fact that Manual students believe and support in what they are doing, but I do not support the fact that Manual students are walking out of class at a random time. If it was more organized and not during the school day, on their own time, I would love to see Manual students down at the river front,” said Assistant Principal Matthew Kingsley.
Even after an school-wide announcement warning students and teachers that the walkout was cancelled, some students still walked out at the scheduled time. Many were stopped in the hallways by staff and sent back to class.
“I believe students have the right to political protests as long as they are aware of the consequences. If they are in support and are willing to take consequences then it can send a strong message,” said Mr. Tim Holman (Government and Politics).
“I admire the rapid support we got from everybody. I’m glad we rallied around this cause, even if it failed, and I think we accomplished a small bit of awareness-spreading around our school today, even if we did not accomplish what we had hoped to,” Wiley said.
Additional reporting by Julian Wright and Charley Nold.