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Protesters pack Edina School Board meeting, condemn suspension of high school students who led Palestine walkout

By staff

Protest at Edina, Minnesota school board meeting to protest the suspension of pro-Palestine students. | Fight Back! News/Brad Sigal

Edina, MN – On the evening of Monday, December 11, 300 community members gathered for a rally outside the Edina School Board meeting at the Edina Community Center, denouncing the suspension of Muslim Somali students who led a pro-Palestine protest on October 26.

The school issued false claims of antisemitism against the students for using the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” during a walkout protesting the ongoing genocide by the Israeli apartheid state. “From the river to the sea” is a call for Palestinian liberation from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It is not antisemitic to oppose apartheid and genocide. Monday’s protest began with that same chant.

A group of students, some of whom had been suspended, shared their stories as the crowd roared in support. One of the students who organized the walkout said, “We put this walkout together to show our support for Palestine, however Edina tried to actively silence us. Many students were afraid to attend the walkout due to the subtle threats Edina has made to the students, such as not being able to make up assignments or tests.” The students also spoke of getting water bottles thrown at them, and administration providing no consequences for these attacks.

The December 11 action was called by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), with support from the Free Palestine Coalition. American Muslims for Palestine , Students for Justice in Palestine, the Anti-War Committee and other groups endorsed the action and spoke.

Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, told the crowd that the reason Edina suspended these students was “to silence students from standing up and calling out for justice for the Palestinian people.” He continued, “Shame on this administration, shame on those who are silent, shame on those who want us to be silent, shame on those who want us to give up.”

Drake Myers, an educator himself and member of the MN Antiwar Committee said, “The most beautiful thing I have seen that gives us all hope is that young people are waking up to this genocide. What these students did in organizing for Palestine gives all of us in the Palestine solidarity movement a new hope for a future with justice and a Free Palestine. That’s why these students are under attack, that’s why my union is under attack, because the war-mongers are scared of our solidarity with Palestine, and they’ve lost their grip on public opinion for good.”

At the school board meeting

While the crowd listened to speeches and chanted outside, inside the Edina Community Center pro-Palestine community members and activists packed the school board meeting, ready to speak up during the public comment period of the agenda in support of the students who were unjustly suspended, calling on the school board to revoke their suspensions.

As speakers wrapped up outside, more of the crowd went inside to listen to the board meeting and support those defending the students.

With the crowd in the small meeting room overflowing into the hallway, the first of two public comment periods of the meeting began. An audience member started to talk about the Edina High School students who had been suspended, but a school board member ruled them out of order.

Soon after, the school board members left the meeting room, at which point the pro-Palestine community members remained to have their say. After a while, the school board members reentered the room, but only to hastily declare the meeting adjourned and quickly shuffle out again. All the protesters from outside joined the people inside the meeting room, and the speak-out continued.

It’s unclear if the Edina School Board will attempt to reconvene to finish the meeting, but community members pledged to return when they do so to speak out against the unjust suspension of the Edina High School students.

#EdinaMN #International #Palestine #PeoplesStruggles #MIRAC #CAIRMN #MNAWC #Feature #StudentMovement