The right to protest meets the right to an opinion

The Lincoln walkout raised various opinions on the topic, some positive and some negative. Although, many Lincoln students agree on one thing: our school came together as a whole on that day. No matter how proud the marchers felt, there’s always going to be the Negative Nancy – and they made sure to get their voices heard.

Across Portland, the news of the walkout surged from newspaper to block to broadcasting stations. Soon enough, a majority of the city was informed about the protest. Some journalists from local news companies walked with us in order to get full coverage of the story. Some of the more popular articles focused on the walkout were done by Oregon Live and KGW.

These article included many photos taken that day, and a description of the who, what, where, when and why. It also includes many quotes from Lincoln students, saying what life is like in the dilapidated school building. Descriptions of the school explained it was unsanitary, unsafe and inefficient; all reasonable examples for why students were pushing the bond.

A popular saying is that “There’s always two sides to a story,” and that holds true for this vast protest. Oregon Live allows comments to be posted to their articles – names and photos included. Six hundred and ninety comments and all very opinionated.

The night of the walkout, photos spread through Instagram and Twitter about negative comments about students who participated in the protest and Lincoln as a school in general. Some of the stronger comments include “Rich yuppies… they should get their mommies and daddies in the district to foot the bill…” and “Caption: I don’t have a brain but I have a loudspeaker and that’s even better. Look at mommy and daddy. I’m on TeeVee! Can I have that Miata convertible now?”

Students passionate about the walkout soon began to take charge and started to respond to those comments and defending their opinions as well, one of those students was senior Ella van der Meulen. She went against the rash comments and replied that it was “completely unacceptable.”

“I was really angry when I first saw the comments,” she said. “As a community, I think we all came together and were all passionate about the walkout. To see older people being mean about it and putting us down for doing something we thought would be beneficial to us as a school – it made me feel really mad.”

Social Studies teacher Blair Hennessy said “I think there’s a single story of Lincoln and I know that students were really hurt by the comments. I think it was also a humbling moment for the students to fight through that and fight through those comments. There’s work to be done in a community to dispel those single stories.”

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