By: Favour Mamudu, Sullivan Senior, and Olamide Olaleye, Sullivan Senior
On January 14th, 2022 some of the students at Sullivan High School decided to prioritize their safety by participating in a collective CPS student walkout all over the district. The walkout was about the students getting their voice heard and getting the attention of CPS and the major. Approximately 200 students from Sullivan High School were a part of the walkout to the CPS headquarters in downtown Chicago.
Sullivan high school also participated in the district walkout and also had their own different demand for school safety. The reason for this was because the students of Sullivan high school felt as if their safety and voice weren’t heard or seen as important.
Rubi Mendez, Sullivan Senior, was one of the main organizers for this walkout. She shared her concerns about the reason for the walkout.
“The lunchroom at Sullivan was unsanitary and it is overpopulated to the point where it is unsafe. The first week after winter break, there was barely anyone at school because everyone was homesick with COVID and that was concerning because it showed how fast omicron and COVID were spreading. Many students have multi-generational families they have to go back to and it was unsafe. People failed to recognize the importance of accessibility during this time because English is the only language being used to spread information to all families. I am expecting the people in power to implement change and go through with getting the proper safety in place, students voice matters.”
Sarah Al-Salkhdi, Sullivan Senior, shared her own personal concern about the walkout and the safety of Sullivan as a whole.
“I participated in this walkout because I felt like CPS is ignoring our safety, not mine only but everyone else. I went downtown with other students and I felt like it was very empowering that other students from different schools cared about this. I cared about safety and they wanted to see change. I expect the mayor to listen to the student’s wants and needs as soon as possible because it is unsafe to be in school right now, it is like our lives are endangered and they do not care. They do not provide the right safety measures to keep us safe in school.
Halima Ahmed, Sullivan Junior and one of the main organizers who led the walkout, talked about her perspective about the walkout.
“I decided to be in this walkout because COVID is not a joke and it is within our school walls and they are not doing anything. That made me feel like doing something like walking out will get their attention because CPS decided not to listen to the students’ voices. Walking out of school and seeing other students felt good because it made the whole workout feel powerful. We had most of the adults listening for once, and walking out made most students who do not voice out finally voice out for once and they shared their concerns and their needs to be safe in school. In downtown, everyone came with the same concerns, voiced out their problems, and demanded it to be solved. I expect the mayor to listen to the student and if she refuses to listen, we can just walk out again and make it a bigger issue.”
As of now, the CPS students are awaiting the response of the mayor and hoping that she adheres to their requirements and prioritizes their health.