Montgomery High School Students Walk Out of Class to Support Reproductive Rights
By Annabelle Wang | June 17, 2022
Hundreds of MHS students suddenly stood up from their seats and left their classrooms at 10:20 am on Wednesday, May 18. As they spilled outside, decked in brilliant shades of pink, they carried posters, determination, and a solidarity that many across America shared that day. Their goal? To protest for reproductive rights. Ever since the leaking of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case of 1973, people nationwide have taken to social media and to the streets to protest. While abortion bans can be an extremely controversial topic, the MHS walkout was peaceful.
Students assembled on the football field and Denia Smith, the principle organizer and an MHS senior, addressed the crowd with a powerful speech. Smith asked, “How can we call ourselves a country of liberty when the government can infringe upon our bodily autonomy? How can we call ourselves a country of equality when a woman, yet not a man, is unable to make her own choices about her own body?”
Eight other speakers took to the mic to share their pleas for women’s rights. Joyce Wang ’22, Katelyn Craven ’22, Anika Akkinepally ’25, Aditi Nayyar ’24, Nina Soni ’25, Margaret Wang ’25, Julie Edelstein ’22, Emma Tian ’25, and Adriana Santiago ’24 all shared Smith’s dedication as they delivered researched and urgent speeches.
In the days leading up to the walk-out, a large group of students met to create signs, plan social media and advertising campaigns, and to finalize details of the event. Organizers also met with MHS Principal Heather Pino to ensure no students would be penalized for walking out. While preparing, Skyler Fong ’22 noted it was important to recognize “what we can and can’t control. We were not there to start fights or arguments.”
Article continues after ad from our sponsor.
Organizers did face opposition as several students tore down flyers they had taped around the school, and one student wrote to the school administration with concerns about the event. Teachers were not allowed to attend the walk-out or to wear pink, and had to remain neutral. Many stood in the stadium throughout the speeches to provide supervision, regardless of their own beliefs.
Reflecting on the event, Senior Joyce Wang commented that when she first began studying Roe v. Wade in school, it was almost like a science fiction comic. “To me, a world where people cannot control their body and their own bodily functions is nothing short of dystopian,” Wang said.