I-Team 8

Muncie Central High School to have third e-learning day after student-led Black Lives Matter protests

MUNCIE, In. (WISH) — Muncie Central High School announced a third e-learning day in a row after nearly 300 students protested Monday in response to Black Lives Matter signs being taken down by the school’s security officers.

“Our teacher was pulled from our classroom by the school security officers at the school and had been told that they did not agree [and] that our claims are false,” Quinnith Bouton, a Muncie Central High School student, said.

Bouton gave I-Team 8 the video she took showing the moment security officers discussed their issues with the Black Lives Matter posters on lockers, which Bouton says was part of an English project. Bouton says the signs were taken down after Attorney General Todd Rokita suggested schools limit Black Lives Matter posters, calling BLM an “unequivocally political organization.”

“[Students] felt that the school officers had a racial bias. And so that in itself made them feel unsafe. I think there is a lack of education in the sense of people of color in general. And I believe that it is appropriate to discuss these topics as it affects many of us every day in their everyday lives,” Bouton said.

Bouton says students are planning on writing to the attorney general and are demanding a personal apology from the security officers involved.

Muncie Community Schools says while they will be remote on Thursday, they will be back to in-person learning on Friday. The following statement was sent to parents by the school:

“Dear Students, Families and Friends,

As you know, a group of students led a peaceful protest at school on Monday stemming from some posters that were displayed in a hallway last week. This was an opportunity for them to have their voice heard on a number of different issues. School and district officials were able to hear their concerns and have a constructive conversation.

It is our intent to have students feel secure and respected when they are at school. This means every student, not just those who feel aggrieved or are passionate about a particular issue. Moreover, in order for our educational mission and responsibilities to be met, prolonged disruptions need to be limited. As such, we are working to balance the educational needs and responsibilities of all of our students with the concerns raised by those who were protesting on Monday.

As we strike this balance, MCS realizes the importance of addressing the concerns brought to light by the events of the past several days and commits to do the following:

  • Investigate the current incident thoroughly.
  • Provide appropriate accountability.
  • Immediately commence ongoing group discussions about the issues involved with assistance from a professional facilitator from Ball State. This effort will include students, parents, teachers and administrators in an effort to provide for an airing of all issues and the development of appropriate remedies. 
  • Continue ongoing diversity, sensitivity and implicit bias training of all MCS staff, including monthly reporting on all such activities to the MCS Board.
  • Provide a means for students to register additional complaints with MCS Administration.
  • Continue operating transparently, sharing pertinent information taking into consideration privacy and confidentiality rights of students, parents and MCS staff.

With regard to our return to in-person instruction, in order to ensure school safety for all and to permit the educational process to move forward, there will be no more in-school protests allowed. However, the Muncie Human Rights Commission has organized a peaceful protest to take place after school on November 23. Protestors will march to City Hall and back to Central’s football field. Once we return to in-person schooling, if students decide to protest in a disruptive manner when they should be in class, they will face appropriate disciplinary action.

MCS has worked hard to be an inclusive school system where everyone is valued and respected, and we plan to keep it that way. Thank you for your support!”

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