A Minneapolis middle school, which teaches children as young as age 11, published in its school newspaper a guide for Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesting.
“After the murder of Amir Locke at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday February 2nd, many of us are–and have been–taking to the streets to protest this injustice,” the February 15 edition of Justice Page Middle School’s paper The Rhino Report says. “This (nowhere near complete) guide on protest etiquette and tips is a combination of personal experience, advice from online circles of local activists, and just general common sense.”
Locke was shot and killed after police served a no-knock warrant at an apartment where he was staying. Seconds before the shooting, he pulled a gun on officers.
It proceeds to give tips to children on how to behave at BLM rallies.
“When it comes to Black Lives Matter protests, if you’re not Black, remember that you’re there to show your support and amplify Black voices,” one of the bullet points says. “ESPECIALLY if you’re White, if they’re offering the megaphone for anyone to speak, it’s not for you. You are here to listen and to show support.”
Another directs students never to post publicly the faces of protestors if they record the events, saying “don’t post anything with people’s faces/identifying information in them, especially if it’s someone doing art/graffiti.”
“Wear nondescript clothing. Even if you aren’t breaking the law, law enforcement may still try to come after you, in these situations it’s better to be paranoid than careless,” says another tip.
It also directs children who have confrontations with police officers to ask the officer if they are being arrested. If not, it says, the children should simply walk away. If they do get arrested, the guide says to make sure the children have their parents’ contact information written in Sharpie on their arms, presumably so they can make a phone call from jail. It also notes that applying hairspray over the Sharpie will make it last longer.
Children who are arrested are to remain silent, ask for a lawyer, and understand that they cannot be legally held in jail for more than 48 hours if they are not charged with a crime, according to the guide.
A media relations coordinator at Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) told The Minnesota Sun that the guide was written by students, and not during school hours.
“At Minneapolis Public Schools, we value and encourage student voice. The Rhino Report newsletter is a student publication that was written by students in an after school community education program,” Chrystina Lugo-Beach said by email. “The publication represents the viewpoints of students, very similar to an editorial written for a newspaper.”
“To reiterate, while The Rhino Report was written by MPS students, it was not written within the context of the school day, for an MPS class nor is the project part of MPS curriculum,” she continued. “It is written by students in an afterschool [sic] program.”
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