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Breaking: P-CEP students organize humanitarian walkout in support of Palestine

Small group tears Israeli flag; witness removes flag
Sara Dallalah
Students hold up peace signs while others raise the Palestinian flag. November 1, 2023.

For the safety of minors, students’ faces have been blurred and students will be referred to by their initials.

On Day 26 of the Israel-Hamas war, students from various cultures, ethnicities, ages, and genders around P-CEP walked out of class in support of the people living in Gaza on Wednesday. The P-CEP Palestine Awareness Club, Middle Eastern Student Association, Black Student Union and Muslim Student Association organized the walkout.

The walkout took place on the Canton Varsity Football Field during the Homeroom period. Students gathered around the center of the field, some holding up flags or signs, others wearing keffiyehs, a scarf symbolizing Palestinian resistance. Posters were lent by organizers to students who wished to participate.

Prior to the walkout, student organizers shared a flyer on social media for participants. One rule stated that no chanting would be allowed. Chants broke out saying, “Free, free Palestine,” but were shortly stopped by the organizers.

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Shortly after the walkout, a recording was posted to social media showing one student who tore an Israeli flag and stomped on it. A few others joined him.

The first speaker shares her testimonial to the crowd. November 1, 2023. (Sara Dallalah)

One student who witnessed the incident took the flag and gave it to a teacher.

One student organizer, D.K., said, “We do not condone any mention of Israel or any political figures. People will do what they want to do.”

P-CCS Superintendent Monica Merritt in an email that evening to district parents and Park students, stated, “Plymouth-Canton Community Schools rejects all forms of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying. We are reviewing this matter and will apply discipline consistent with our policies.”

Since Oct. 7 with the developments in the Israel-Hamas war, the death toll has increased to over 8,000 Palestinians and over 1,400 Israelis in Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

D. K., one of the organizers of the walkout and the president

of the P-CEP Palestinian Awareness Club emphasized that the event they prepared for the student body was “humanitarian focused.”

“This event wasn’t anything political,” said D. K. “The focus is that people are being injured, people are being killed and this is something we have to talk about.”

The event featured selected P-CEP student speakers and a silent protest lasting 20 minutes.

One speaker, M. A., talked about how the war has impacted her family. “My grandparents had to leave their homes and their whole lives behind [to go to Kuwait]. If they didn’t leave, they would have been killed. My parents, uncles and aunts had to go through checkpoints sitting at the border for hours so they could enter their homeland. And so does every other Palestinian.”

M.M.A., a viewer in the crowd, said, “She was tearing up throughout the entire speech.”

Another speaker read a list of nine family members, all under the age of 16, who died in

The second speaker shares his testimonial to the crowd. November 1, 2023. (Sara Dallalah)

Gaza the week of October 23, 2023.

At the beginning of the walkout, markers were passed around the crowd for the students to write their names on their hands to simulate the step taken by Palestinian parents who write their children’s names on their bodies in the event that their offspring get killed. For the silent portion of the event, students raised peace signs. The event ended shortly after and students returned to their fourth hour classes.

“I would say there’s a lot of passion,” said D. K. “It’s difficult for a lot of people to talk about this when they’ve lost family members, so it is very emotional for a lot of people.”

This story was originally published on The Perspective on November 3, 2023.