Martin Luther King HS students stage walk-out over lack of COVID-19 safety

Just after 12-noon Wednesday, students at Martin Luther King Jr. HIgh School in Detroit walked out of class over what they claim are a lack of COVID-19 safety protocols.

"Either shut us down or get us right," said one student.

"We are out here trying to get our schools clean, there are so many Covid cases that the principal is not telling us about," student Madison Sanders.

"(There's) seven teachers out right now who haven’t been in school because of Covid," said student Taurean Camel Jr.  "And (the principal) hasn’t told us anything (regarding) the cases."

During the walk-out, students spoke up about Principal Damian Perry.

"They don’t clean often and they require us to do it - and most students will do it, out of their own safety," said student Elijah Shabazz.

Parents also showed up to voice their concerns.

"I get emails daily - and I do not get any type of information about Covid," said parent Deanna Johnson. "I don't get any of that. My son is the one who tells me, 'Oh one of the students has Covid today.'"

FOX 2 reached to officials at Detroit Public Schools Community District and we were sent a statement from the high school’s principal which reads in part:

"The COVID concerns shared by some staff members are real and are acknowledged by the District through the recent decision to move instruction online each Friday in December to allow for deep cleaning of all buildings. We will continue to follow the safety guidance of the District, participate in weekly testing, and report positive cases as required."

After students made their voices heard they were led back into the building and were told they would not be suspended.

"I’m telling the students to go back inside you don’t have to worry about anything, that’s an amendment, that’s a right, you do you have the right to assemble, to peacefully protest," said Ridgeley Hudson, school culture facilitator.

Taurean Camel Jr took part in the protest outside school.

Taurean Camel Jr took part in the protest outside school. 

The Detroit Federation of Teachers says it is also looking into concerns over Covid safety protocols.

"We don’t want our students exposed and we don't want them taking it home to their families, and we most definitely don’t want our members exposed and contracting Covid," said Lakia Wilson Lumpkins, Detroit Federation of Teachers. "We don’t want students to feel as if they have to get to the last resort and walk out on their own education. That is something that is totally unacceptable and that, we cannot have."

The entire statement from MLK HS Principal Perry is below:

"The administration at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School recognizes the right to participate in a democratic process. The reason why I decided to transfer to King as Principal, is because I am a product of this same place that was once one of the highest performing schools in the State, and I want that excellency, plus more, for our students now.

"We believe the voices of our students and staff are valid and we value each person as a part of our solutions forward. Realizing our vision of being the highest performing school in the District and State requires a shift in our thinking, actions, and expectations. From arriving to class on time, following school dress code, and respecting the implementation of a closed campus, I need our students, families, and staff to know that these decisions were made in the best interest of ensuring student and staff safety while promoting an environment conducive to excellent teaching and learning."