Black high school students in Kansas City initiated a protest, where they marched off the campus of the Shawnee Mission East High School in response to a racist incident that sent one of their fellow classmates to the hospital.
This followed a white student calling her a racial slur and punching the girl.
Holding signs with messages such as “We don’t feel safe,” “We demand action! Protect students of color,” and “Take action now,” the students called on the administration to implement a more robust anti-hate crime and discrimination policy within the district.
Additionally, they urged the establishment of systems to guarantee an environment free of hate speech and conducive to their education.The walkout happened on the morning of Monday, Nov. 27, around 11 a.m.Dozens of students stood up in class and #
walked out chanting, “How many more times,” “We want change,” and “Have our backs,” the Kansas City Star reported.
According to the students, the recent violent attack was just the latest of bigoted incidents that have emotionally or physically impacted the Black student body and is an example of how the school is lacking in disciplining students who use racist language or commit race-based violence.
“This has been an ongoing issue with racism at East. There are multiple situations that have happened over and over again,” said senior Charlize Littlejohn.
She added, “I think we’re all just really tired of trying to get change, and it just not happening. We’re just exhausted. Trying to go to class. It really affects us.”
The walkout stemmed from a fight in the school hallway, according to the senior, which involved a Black female student and a white male student and was captured on video.
As the Black girl walks away from the other teen in the video, she is allegedly heard saying, “Don’t say nothing unless you’re gonna come say it to my face.”
The white male student told her to “Shut the f–k up,” and used the racist slur.
According to the Kansas City Defender, before the fight, the female student reportedly confronted the male student about calling Black students “slaves.” This was allegedly not the first time this particular student had been in conflict with the Black student, who turned and approached him.
As she faces his direction, the young man charges at her, showering her with racial epithets like the N-word. When he gets to her, he pushes her down and both start throwing punches. The altercation elevated into a full-on fight until some students called for adult support. Witnesses say the boy, a sophomore, started the fight, throwing the first blow to his 2026 classmate, who is said to be recovering with a broken nose.
The district is being very tight-lipped about its response to the fight and the walkout, citing the school’s privacy policies as the reason its disciplinary actions have not been disclosed.
However, district spokeswoman Kristin Babcock, who said the schools do not have a code of conduct for students in place, said that her team takes “incidents of racism and physical violence very seriously.”
She also said they will “follow our policies and procedures” while investigating this case.
Students at the predominantly white school don’t think that is enough. Both students involved in the altercation were suspended, but the protestors are calling for the boy to face expulsion.
“We’ve been in their office trying to talk to them about it. They just never really want to do anything,” Littlejohn said. “They’ll listen to us and make comments, but they’ll never really do anything to tell people this is not allowed here and this cannot go on.”
This is not the first walkout of the year. In April, the students walked out to protest gun violence.