Students Walk Out to Fight for Dismissed Teacher

By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

Close to 100 students walked out of class at Palisades Charter High School on Friday, April 5, to protest the dismissal of teacher Todd Wilkinson after he was informed his contract would not be renewed.

Ryan Loyola, Pali High senior, again took extra measures to fight for his teacher and organize the walkout after a petition to reinstate Wilkinson received over 800 signatures, and a slew of teachers and students pleaded to the Board of Trustees to reconsider their decision.

A student complaint against the AP English Literature teacher prompted the administration to dismiss him shortly after.

“While we thank the board for their open ears and diligence in regards to listening to the concerns of the Pali community, we have not received any new updates from the board about the status of Mr. Wilkinson’s contract or even if they decided to reopen their investigation into the manner,” wrote Loyola in an update to his petition.

The walkout took place over 30 minutes as students walked out of their 6th period class to meet in the middle of campus, and shortly after return to class.

“As far as we know, that was students acting on their own behalf,” said Pali High Communications Coordinator Ashley Austin when asked if the demonstration had been approved by the school.

Any disciplinary action for walking out of class was left up to the teachers’ discretion.

“I believe that with the right turnout, we can get our point across efficiently, and by returning to class in a quick and orderly fashion, we’re showing the administration that we are respecting them as a school body and that they should respect us as the students they serve,” Loyola said.

“Regardless of the outcome, just know that Todd Wilkinson will have the faith of the Palisades community behind him, and I hope he never forgets it.”

Wilkinson did not respond to requests for comment.