A walkout and protest involving dozens of parents and students at Stevenson High School against the school’s mask mandate led to some students being “verbally assaulted,” school officials said.
The protest began around 8:30 a.m. Friday and involved at least 40 parents and 50 students protesting on campus at Route 22 and Stevenson Drive in Lincolnshire.
Video on social media showed students, many maskless, walking out of the school to protest the school’s mask mandate.
At one point, the crowd began chanting, “USA, USA, USA.” A plane also flew over the school during the protest with a banner that said, “D96, D103 & D125 UNMASK OUR KIDS.”
Stevenson High School officials sent a letter to parents following the protest.
“As always, we welcome the right and freedom of members of the community to assemble and express themselves. As issues like this arise, our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our students,” Superintendent Eric Twadell and Principal Troy Gobble said in a joint statement.
As the morning unfolded, protestors moved from Route 22 to the Point at the front of the West Building.
“Unfortunately, we then began receiving multiple reports from students who were afraid and felt unsafe. Some students were verbally assaulted by parent and student protesters while entering and exiting the building during a morning passing period,” Twadell and Gobble said.
School administration also witnessed parents and students banging on windows by the Point entrance.
The statement said that Stevenson staff worked closely with the Lincolnshire Police Department to monitor the protesters and ensure the safety of their students, faculty and staff.
The police also helped keep the flow of students moving during passing periods and personally escorted students who tried to enter or exit the building in a safe manner, the school said.
“While the parent and student protest was relatively small, we know that many of our students witnessed or later learned about this morning’s events. We understand that these events may cause feelings of anxiety or confusion among some students, or they may just want to speak with a trusted adult about what happened,” Twadell and Gobble said.
Members of the school’s Student Services Division are available for students, the school said. “We strongly encourage you and your student to reach out to your student’s counselor if this is the case.”