The vagina dialogue

Public charter school participated in nationwide student walkout, but it was a poster’s disappearance that got classmates talking

Met High School sophomore Mia Nurge poses with the poster she made for last week’s National School Walkout Day.

Met High School sophomore Mia Nurge poses with the poster she made for last week’s National School Walkout Day.

Photo courtesy of kerianne foxford

Terra Richards is an SN&R intern and a junior at Met Sacramento High School.

A downtown Sacramento high school participated in a nationwide student protest against gun violence last week, but it was the removal of a poster containing the word “vagina” that dominated the conversation in the days to follow.

On March 14, the Met Sacramento High School participated in National School Walkout Day, to protest how easy it was for 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz to acquire the semi-automatic rifle and bullets that he allegedly used last month to kill 17 students and teachers, and wound 14 others.

Students prepared for the walkout beforehand with their advisories (what the Met calls its homeroom teachers) by creating posters to carry around Southside Park, where the school’s protest was being held. After the 17-minute walkout, which was dedicated to each life taken at Stoneman Douglas High School, students returned to class pumped with adrenaline, with hopes of making a difference.

A group of students in advisory teacher Xico Gonzalez’s class taped their posters near the front entryway to the school. When Mia Nurge went to take a picture with her poster, which read, “Guns have more rights than my vagina,” she discovered that it had been removed.

Mia said Principal Denise Lambert directed her to the janitor, who told the sophomore that Lambert instructed him to take the poster down since it would be the first thing visitors saw upon entering the Met. Mia found her poster in the vice principal’s trash can and was allowed to put it back up outside her classroom. The poster disappeared again.

The story of the removed poster spread via social media. Two days later, students returned to school wearing pink and red, and covered the public charter’s walls with their own vagina-themed posters to protest what they perceived as censorship.

Lambert defended the students’ right to free speech, and said she asked only that the posters not block windows or be displayed near the school’s entryway.