Unite to fight

Menlo-Atherton community takes a stand against police brutality

The Menlo-Atherton High School community has been arranging protests, walkouts, petitions, and other advocacy efforts against police brutality in the past few weeks. This is in reaction to an incident on April 28 where MAHS administrators called the police on a student. Police officers pinned down the student, who reportedly had recently had surgery, inciting outrage in the community, according to the Almanac.

From MAHS’s student-run clubs to Stanford’s Students for Liberation of All People, the community has mobilized in support of de-escalation training initiatives for MA police. 

The MAHS Black Student Union has been leading these efforts. MAHS Freshman Eboni Freeman has helped coordinate the BSU’s outreach and organization. 

Freeman said that she was upset by the MAHS administration’s response to the incident, claiming it was performative activism. 

“MA, they make a brand off of standing in Black solidarity and understanding the Black community and doing what they need for Black students,” Freeman said. “I’m not going to say they [the administration] shouldn’t have called the police necessarily, but they should have sent someone to assist that Black student with the police encounter.”

Freeman said, as a Black student, she doesn’t feel cared about by her school.

“The fact that MA hasn’t even made a stance on the treatment that that student received from the police, it really it concerns me,” Freeman said.

One of the BSU’s reactions to the incident was organizing a protest on May 1, which Freeman helped with. She said it was a great experience watching her peers come together.

“I met so many people that I feel like are literally amazing,” Freeman said. “I love planning this, I love being a part of this.”

Freeman said that she wants to continue advocating for students’ rights, as well as teaching students how to advocate for themselves.

“I hope to … help other students understand how to help each other and themselves and how to communicate these things effectively to places like admin or Atherton police,” Freeman said.

May 11, in coordination with the BSU, MAHS’s Student Protest Organization helped coordinate a student walkout. One of the organizers, freshman Nora Acosta, was inspired to take action despite never having organized a protest before. She said her peers encouraged her to follow through with her ambitions.

The fact that MA hasn’t even made a stance on the treatment that that student received from the police, it really it concerns me,

— Eboni Freeman

Acosta said that it was impactful, on a personal level, for her to get involved in her community.

“It is a big thing, because like not many freshmen do stuff like this,” Acosta said. “This has probably [given me] a lot of confidence and self esteem to do big things.”

However, organizing the walkout was not without its challenges, as Acosta faced backlash from parents concerned about safety. 

“Everybody had different opinions on it and it was really hard [to organize the event],” Acosta said.

During the walkout, participants watched student speakers at Burgess Park. 

The protest has had a unifying impact on the student body according to Acosta. 

“Before the walkouts, many students segregated themselves in groups,” she said. “[Since then,] everyone came together and are certainly working together and like collaborating a lot.”

Both the BSU and the Student Protest Organization plan on continuing to discuss with police and administrators to avoid future incidents of police violence.