No Justice, No Peace: Demands Remain from a Disappointed Student Body

Sanna Walker, Deputy Editor, Student Life

As the 2021-22 school year wraps up, many seniors are looking forward to their graduation: a final celebration of their four years at Minnetonka High School when they can fondly look back and reflect on their time here, ready to make one last push and move on to future endeavors.

However, many students, especially those who participated in the school-wide February sit-in, remain disappointed with the way the school addresses incidences of racial discrimination. The school has made no significant strides toward prioritizing equity and meeting the demands made by BIPOC students since the numerous racial justice walk-outs and sit-ins.

At the February sit-in, a list of demands were made to the administration to make students of color feel more comfortable within the Minnetonka community. 

“Many BIPOC students came together and created [these demands]… [including what] they wanted to see administrators at Minnetonka fulfill,” said Abdul Abdi, ‘22. 

Earlier this winter, there was a flood of stories on social media platforms such as Instagram about microaggressions and full-fledged racial aggressions that BIPOC students have faced without them being informed of an appropriate response by the administration. 

The demands were also in response to the refusal to air a video made by a member of the Women of Color student organization at MHS for the February School Announcement feature on Black History Month. The video cited police violence as an issue by which Black communities all across the United States are affected. However, the students who created the video recounted being told by white administrators that Black History Month should center around celebration as a justification for a shortened version of the original video to be played instead. This version removed the references to police violence and systemic power imbalances. 

Abdi, head of Men of Color Club at MHS and main facilitator of the sit-in, stated these demands clearly to the crowd of students and administrators who attended the sit-in: Minnetonka must “[include] racial affinity spaces” (something that many other schools in the surrounding area have), “[hire] an equity director,” and equip staff with “better training,” among other requests. 

Additionally, many speakers at this event explained their history within the Minnetonka schools which was unfortunately filled with racist attacks that were not adequately investigated. Some recalled how young siblings were exposed to racist remarks early and without any significant consequence or re-education for the perpetrator. 

The school has not directly addressed the concerns that have been repeatedly raised by the BIPOC community within Minnetonka High School. The programs and services that allow Minnetonka to become a safe and inclusive environment for students of color have yet to be delivered. 

“Minnetonka has a long way to go regarding diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Abdi.  

As our seniors look toward graduation, we are left with lasting impressions about MHS that we will never forget.  While celebration is in order for an upcoming graduation, there have been many requests from the student body left unaddressed by the administration, and this lack of action has allowed for disappointment and regret to fester within the student body. 

In an email addressed to an administrator, Jordan Hollings, ‘22, stated that it is “imperative that the district of Minnetonka, and more specifically administration and teachers, take a direct and active stance against racism and injustice.” 

Hollings also stated the importance of “[promoting] an anti-racist attitude that the administration should hope to instill in all Minnetonka students.” 

Ultimately, as the school year comes to an end, students remain hopeful for a future in which Minnetonka administrators make definitive steps toward a more equitable space for all students.