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Marin high school students protest racial slur video with walkout



Tamalpais High School students led a walkout Wednesday to protest a video in which their peers used a racial slur.

The video captures several students using the slur, while others laughed along. The video has circulated among students since last week, said Logan Raven and Auvin Cole, both seniors on the school basketball team and co-presidents of the Black Student Union.

Raven and Cole organized the walkout protest to advocate for harsher punishments for racism and to show solidarity against prejudice.

“I think this brought attention to racist comments and the use of the n-word around campus and online,” said Raven, a resident of the Homestead Valley community.

Student leaders delivered speeches to around 125 students at the school before the march. The protest walk went from Tamalpais High to Mill Valley City Hall and back to the school along Miller Avenue. By the end of the protest hundreds had gathered, including some staff and community members, Raven said.

Cole, a resident of Mill Valley, said he and other Black youth leaders were concerned about a culture of permissiveness that allowed racism to incubate in the community and not be treated as a threat.

“We feel there hasn’t really been discipline or punishment enacted for people who do this,” he said. “I feel like a lot of kids see these comments as a joke.”

Kimberly Clissold, principal at Tamalpais High School, sent out an email on Friday to parents acknowledging the “disturbing and disappointing video” made by Tamalpais High School students.

Clissold said the video was shared with and shown to Tam High students during the school day.

“The administration is investigating and actively addressing this incident with the students involved,” Clissold said. “As a district and school, we condemn all acts of racism and will continue efforts to educate our student body about the harmful impact these acts have on our fellow students and our broader community.”

Clissold became principal at the 1,550-student campus on July 1.

Shaniya Valentine, a freshman from Marin City and a member of the Marin City youth advocacy group Wise Choices for Girls, said she led chants over a megaphone during the march to motivate other students to participate.

“This protest really showed the school how we really care about our community and we really want our voices to be heard,” Valentine said. “I feel like our walkout showed we were really serious and we believe things should have been handled better.”

Angela Carter, an education specialist at Tamalpais High School and the Black Student Union adviser, said there were concerns that the administration had been aware of the video within the last month before the foment of student action last week to plan for the protest.

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