Walkouts: Are they Worth It?


Mia Paulson, Staff Writer/Editor

For many Colorado schools this year, the districts have mandated masks for the safety of the teachers and students. However, most of the student body was unaware they would be forced to wear masks until just days, even hours, before the year started. This last-minute call has invigorated many, and they are not afraid to voice their opinions.

At Holy Family High School, we were fortunate enough to stay in person all year last year. Then, with COVID cases still being high in number, the mask mandate made sense. Also, since we were one of the only schools open, everyone was willing to make sacrifices to stay away from online learning.

This year, the tides have turned. Many more schools are in person this year, as the cases have gone down and vaccinations have gone up. Students and teachers were ready for a positive full year of in-person learning, and most districts promised no masks. The Colorado districts that made this promise during the summer saw their enrollment rise, as not having to wear masks was a big deal and enticing to many. However, after everyone was committed to where they were attending, the schools revoked this promise.

Home - Ralston Valley HighRalston Valley, located in Arvada as part of the Jefferson County School District, is one of these schools. Just two weeks before school, the announcement that masks would be required came out. All summer, the community was told that any fully vaccinated students would not have to wear masks at all. The change in protocol left everyone who already got their shots in preparation for the year very upset.

Junior Lily Hawkins, a student at RV, participated in the walkout at 10:00 am on September 10th during her AP Lang class. Hawkins stated, “I walked out because I was encouraged by my friends and family to participate and I wanted to see if anything would change, or if I could make an impact somehow, because I don’t think masks should be enforced at school.” Hawkins understands the previous mask mandates, but feels strongly about people who are fully vaccinated not needing to wear them, especially since they were promised it from the beginning.

Hawkins would guess that about 50 people walked out, five of whom she is close with. Unfortunately, nothing changed. “The school did not have much of a reaction, since they were already aware of the walkout taking place beforehand. The only action they took was having security guards outside and some staff making sure people were behaving and not leaving,” commented Hawkins.

Ralston Valley is not the only school with upset communities. Arvada West, Faith Christian, and Windsor also participated in the same walkout, but theirs did not start any change either.

Word of even more walkouts is spreading. Students are tired of having everything be different at school, and tired of having promises be taken away. By walking out, their opinions are being heard. However, the walkouts are rarely actually being effective and promoting real change.