Students demonstrate LGBTQ+ pride at district-wide walkout


Calliandra Moody

Flag-bearing CHS students show their support for the LGBTQ+ community at the demonstration by the main office.

Cece Turk and Calliandra Moody

At 10 a.m. on May 30, Carlsbad and Sage Creek High School students left their classrooms to protest the LGBTQ+ community’s recent treatment by school and district administrators. The CUSD school board’s vote to postpone the decision to fly the Pride flag during June and CHS Assistant Principal Ethan Williams’ calls to end gender identity or sexuality groups on campus inspired members from @studentsfordei on Instagram to organize the walkout. 

Sophomore Ivan Vo walked out to emphasize the importance of the proposed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Plan for CUSD schools. He also voiced his frustration with Williams’ statements at the May 19 Stand for Truth Meeting at the Mission Church.

“I’m just disappointed in our vice principal because he is working with kids, but at the same time, making these kids super uncomfortable,” Vo said. “It just doesn’t feel right when you have a person in power suppressing a minority.”

Demonstrators spoke to the crowd including junior Jill John, who shared her perspective as a student from Virginia, where she feared being “outed.” She explained how the vibrant LGBTQ+ community in Carlsbad helped boost her confidence and called to preserve it.

Senior Henry Williams, junior Caroline Jethmal and junior Violet Britton gather for the walkout. (Cece Turk)

“Even if [Williams] is religious, that’s cool,” John said. “But he has to realize that it’s also his job to make us feel safe and welcome in this environment.”

Several students showed their support with signs like “I should feel safe @ CHS.” Though freshman Conrad Cane doesn’t plan to attend CHS next year, he hopes the school will be a safe space for incoming freshmen.

“At the moment, I don’t think it is [a safe environment] because certain people are being discriminated against for who they are,” Cane said. “Even if you don’t support someone’s decisions, you still have to respect them as a person.”

Not all students who met for the walkout backed the message. Some held flyers showing solidarity with Williams while mocking demonstrators. 

“If you came here to make fun of us, why?” sophomore Luken Oyarbide-McKillip said during a speech.

Despite voices of dissent, the majority of participants conveyed messages of inclusivity and pride for their identities. Sophomore Charlie Hernandez stressed the importance of students showing support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s important to show to people that they are welcome here on campus and that they’re important and that they matter,” Hernandez said. “And it doesn’t change depending on who they love or care about or how they identify.”