JCPS students walk out of class over potential Roe v. Wade decision

J.M. Atherton High School has potential boundary changes coming under JCPS’ new student-assignment plan. April 14, 2022

Students at three high schools in Jefferson County Public Schools walked out of class Thursday afternoon to protest the potential end of abortion protections offered under Roe v. Wade.

Classmates at duPont Manual High School, Ballard High School and Atherton High School took part in walkouts, JCPS spokesperson Carolyn Callahan said.

The protests came after a draft of a Supreme Court decision was published Monday night by Politico. The leaked opinion, which could come out in June, was written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito and deems Roe v. Wade as "egregiously wrong from the start." The authenticity of the draft, which would overturn the landmark 1973 decision, was confirmed this week by Chief Justice John Roberts.

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Videos posted by the Manual RedEye, Manual High School's student publication, showed dozens of students gathered in front of the school's Old Louisville campus. The district confirmed walkouts had also occurred at Atherton and Ballard.

The students were given "safe areas" to protest — for example, students at Atherton were permitted to protest in the interior courtyard, Callahan said.

At Atherton, about 25 students did not return to class after the protest time approved by the school administration ended, Callahan said. Instead, that group left the approved protest grounds – the courtyard – and left school property. Those students were allowed back inside by another student in violation of district policy – which states students cannot return to class after leaving school property without permission – and caused a brief disruption in the auditorium before leaving the building again, Callahan said.

She said she believed the district does not plan to discipline the students but that the incident will count as an unexcused absence for those who participated. Louisville Metro Police officials were briefly called by JCPS security but that request was canceled before officers arrived, Callahan said.

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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: JCPS high school students walk out to protest Roe v. Wade draft