How Do Walkouts Fit in the Eagle Nest?


Not too far away from Skyline, West and East High students and teachers held walkouts on January 25 in protest of the House Bill 215, which, while giving public school teachers raises, will also allocate a portion of Utah public school funds to private schools in the area. 

While Skyline does have a small history of walkouts, when compared to SLCSD schools the frequency is less. For example, in addition to the sexual assault walkout on January 25,  West High School students walked out on April 6  protesting the HB11 legislature (regarding restriction on transgender people being allowed to play sports) and on May 12 in support of abortion rights. 

Our question is if these kinds of walkouts fly at the Nest? Have they already? What is the history of walkouts at Skyline? 

Skyline’s history of walkouts is not as developed as other high schools in Utah. But there has been student and teacher-led activism at the school. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Skyline was one of many high schools in Utah that had students protesting the overturn of Roe v Wade last May. 

Despite this information, it seems that teachers at the Nest can’t seem to remember the details of the last walkout themselves. “I think the last one that we had was in support of March for Our Lives due to the Parkland Shooting,” remarks Skyline IB Coordinator and AP/IB English teacher, Jill Thackeray. “There was also a tardy ticket walkout that took place that wasn’t supported,” the educator says with a laugh.

So, why is it that Salt Lake City School District schools, specifically West and East High School, have had such a rich recent history of walkouts, while Skyline’s history is quite different? A difference could be the students at these different schools. Skyline’s AP Human Geography teacher, Anita Ardi, alludes to the idea that Skyline students aren’t as motivated as other high school students in the state or at least not about the topics being currently protested at West and East. She says, “I’m not sure our kids are as politically motivated because they don’t see it impacting them as much.”

There is also discussion of what Skyline may deem important versus what other schools may.  Jill Thackeray believes it is the Nest’s emphasis on excellence. “Our focus is on academics. And with that we become so committed to only seeing that as success.” This idea is certainly supported by the Nest’s administrators. “The real bottom line is, we’re here for education to occur, and we’d rather have no disruptions to learning, so if there has to be a disruption we’d like it to be as minimal as possible,” states Timothy Mundt, one of the Nest’s assistant principals.

What is it then that would encourage a Skyline student to walkout? When asked about what they’d fight for, Skyline students provided different answers. “I feel really strongly about equality between the sexes,” says ninth grader, Vera Webb,  “ I believe that women shouldn’t have to be afraid to walk alone at night.” Another student makes it as simple as schoolwork. “Just homework. Too much isn’t the best for me… or a lot of other students I know,” says ninth grader, Quinton Llewe.

Walkouts, however, are by far not the only way for students to voice their concerns, as Timothy Mundt points out, “I think the best way [for a student to have their voice heard] would be to get involved in the school directly through clubs and activities,” the assistant principal states, “Because then you have a group that is totally part of this school culture…you’re still part of the school in a way that gives you a voice.”

No matter what concerns Skyline students or teachers, the Nest collectively agrees that sharing your voice does resemble the Eagle way, namely one being bold resilience.