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Beacon Hill Middle School students stage walk out in support of Roe v. Wade

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Beacon Hill Middle School students stage walk out in support of Roe v. Wade

Beacon Hill Middle, formerly known as Carl G. Renfroe Middle School, City Schools of Decatur, W. College Avenue.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — Students at Beacon Hill Middle in Decatur staged a walkout on May 18 in support of Roe V. Wade.

A message left with the school district seeking comment was not immediately returned. Politico obtained an initial draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that is a renunciation of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that largely maintained that right.

The Supreme Court’s ruling will not be final until the opinion is published, which is likely in the next two months, Politico reported. Currently, Roe v. Wade is still law, and abortion rights are protected under the constitution.

A parent posted a video of the event:

Students could be heard chanting, “My body, my rights.” A witness said the walkout occurred at 10:15 a.m. and teachers and staff stood near the protest to keep students safe from passing vehicles.

There was also a walkout at Decatur High. Here is more information about that protest, provided by one of the organizers:

On Wednesday, May 18th, students at Decatur High School will be walking out to demand action on their reproductive rights. They will be walking out at 10:15 to the front of school/square location. This is a part of Generation Ratify’s coordinated nationwide walkout to mobilize young people in the fight to defend and expand their reproductive freedoms. Youth organizers of this walkout released the following statement:

“We are in a time of unprecedented attacks on our reproductive rights. In 2022 alone, there have been more than 500 anti-abortion restrictions introduced across 41 state legislatures. According to the leaked draft majority opinion by Justice Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it is clear the Supreme Court will not protect young people’s reproductive freedoms. With unconstitutional, anti-abortion legislation sweeping state legislatures and a Supreme Court that refuses to uphold the Constitution, young people are being stripped of their right to healthcare and bodily autonomy. We need a mass youth mobilization to defend and expand our access to abortion.”

“Young people call on our elected officials to codify Roe v. Wade on both the state and federal level, including to advance the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment that will prohibit sex-based discrimination. The ERA will provide a strong legal defense against attacks on our abortion access. We call on President Biden and the National Archivist to publish the ERA. We also urge the Senate to remove the arbitrary deadline on the ratification of the amendment by passing SJ Res 1. Women and queer people need the permanent protection only a constitutional amendment can provide.”

“I’m walking out so everyone I know now, and in the future has the right to their own body ”- Isabella Cabrices

“Young people are fired up. It is our bodies, our futures, and our lives at stake. That’s why we are walking out of school on Wednesday, May 18th. We won’t go back.”

The Decatur School Board recently renamed the city’s middle school to Beacon Middle School, discarding the earlier name of Renfroe Middle School.

Following the protest, Principal Greg Wiseman sent out the following email to parents to address rumors about the event:

Dear Parents,

Today at 10:15, a student-organized walkout occurred when over a hundred students gathered in front of the school at the end of the driveway and Adams St. There are untrue rumors spreading about this event that I would like to clear up.

The majority of our students remained in their classes. School administrators and over a dozen teachers were stationed outside to supervise the students that chose to protest.

At around 10:25, students filed back into the building through the Adams St. door and the majority of students went directly to their 2nd period class as directed. These students were not suspended from school.

However, a few dozen students remained in the hallway, ignoring teacher and administrators’ directions to return to class on multiple occasions. This group was loud, disruptive, and created a physical and emotionally unsafe situation. Consequences for these students will follow the CSD Code of Conduct.

A few students left the campus all together prior to and during the walkout. As soon as these students were identified, their families were called to ensure their safety as per our protocols. Consequences for these students will follow the CSD Code of Conduct.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me.

– Greg Wiseman

Reporter Zoe Seiler contributed to this story. 

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