Students from Denison High School in western Iowa walked out today in protest of a recent incident at the school involving teacher Crystal Holt using the “n” word.
More than 75 students wearing red and black gathered around the Wall of Pride monument in front of the school holding up posters and signs and chanting.
Holt says her use of the word was not a racial slur as it was not directed at a person or an individual and the word was used to teach and help people understand the seriousness of racism in a capital punishment case.
Denison High School senior, Chris Espino gave a speech during the protest as he held up a signed petition. “We the students who have signed this petition, want a supportive educational environment for all students, educators and staff. And we stand firmly behind this belief,” Espino says.
Espino called for a full evaluation from an outside organization of all issues related to diversity in the school. “Internal investigations sweep many of the problems under the rug — allow people off the hook. We can’t let it happen this time,” Espino said. “Therefore, everyone in this petition has asked that we get a full evaluation from an outside organization of all issues relating to diversity in this school.”
Denison Superintendent Mike Pardon says they are working on the internal investigation at this time and until the investigation is finished he can not comment any further. Law enforcement along with other administration were present to monitor the protest. The protest lasted approximately 35 minutes before the students headed back to class.
(Story and photo by Amy Nelson, KDSN, Denison)
(The name of the student in this story was corrected)