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Oregon City High School students stage walkout over assembly video detailing abuse

A video played during a virtual, school-wide assembly last week prompted many students to walk out of class Monday afternoon.

OREGON CITY, Ore. — A large number of Oregon City High School (OCHS) students walked out Monday in protest of a video that aired during an assembly the preview week in which an anonymous student admitted to abusing an ex-girlfriend.

The virtual assembly took place last Wednesday. The goal of the mental health event was to bring people together by sharing student stories about times they struggled and overcame hardships. However, many students KGW spoke to said they were deeply disturbed by one of the story submissions. 

The video in question depicts the silhouette of a student as they admit to physically and emotionally abusing an ex-girlfriend who also attends the school.

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Many OCHS parents, like Deana Watkinson, wanted to know how this happened and who allowed it to be played. 

"Who reviewed this? Was it a student? Was it a faculty member? Was it the principal, a teacher? I don't know," said Watkinson. "What rationale would they have for keeping that in the video?"

The Oregon City School Board discussed the assembly at length in a special called meeting Friday, taking comments from a handful parents and students.

"My child said the students on the committee made it very clear that they did not want this particular story shared due to its disturbing content," one parent told the board. "My child said that [they] had no say over what stories got picked and that the staff at the school they reported it to said that it was fine."

The interim superintendent, Kyle Laier, said the district has received a formal complaint in regards to the video and assembly. He also confirmed an investigation is underway. 

"As superintendent of the district and someone who is, like all the educators within our system, in charge of the health and safety of our students, I'm sorry," Laier said during the board meeting on Friday.  

Students staged a walkout on Monday afternoon, further protesting the display of the disturbing video and calling for accountability. 

"A lot of things and a lot of abuse is swept under the rug at OCHS," said London,  a sophomore at the school. "We wanted to bring that to attention. People shared their stories with us as well, and that was really powerful."

"I think we're going to do it again because I am not satisfied," said sophomore Annalise, "I don't think our voices came across to the school board, and all that."

KGW reached out Monday afternoon for a comment or statement from the Oregon City School District, but we have not gotten a response.

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