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Lawrence High, Free State students hold walkouts to protest the ‘present political state’ of Kansas

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Hundreds of students at Lawrence and Free State high schools walked out of their buildings at 11 a.m. Tuesday in protest of Kansas’ current state of affairs.

“Our walkout will consist of raising our voices against the present political state right now in Kansas,” according to a message sent out about the walkouts, in regards to abortion rights, possible loss of birth control, and LGBTQ+ rights.

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Students congregated outside LHS, then marched down nearby Louisiana and 23rd streets with their signs.

At FSHS, students chanted on the sidewalk at Sixth Street and Bauer Farm Drive near the school.

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The right to abortion is currently protected by the Kansas constitution, but Kansas voters in the Aug. 2 election will essentially decide whether to allow the Legislature to ban all abortions, regardless of whether a pregnancy endangers someone’s life or was the result of rape or incest.

Social media messages from the walkout organizers on Monday said they had learned there was going to be a “pro-life protest on the circle drive” at Free State and encouraged students to be respectful of counterprotesters’ First Amendment rights to free speech.

Someone called Lawrence police shortly after 11 a.m., concerned about people spinning their tires near protesters at Free State, scanner traffic indicated.

In addition, there was a call about “young people driving around and circling the area of Wakarusa and 6th Street, hanging out of car windows,” Kim Murphree, a spokesperson for the department, said via email. “An LPD patrol officer contacted one of the groups in a car and advised the occupants to buckle up and stop hanging out the car windows.”

Another person reported that students were “going into traffic,” Murphree said. A patrol officer told them to be safe and stay out of the roadway, she said. However, as of 1:40 p.m., Murphree said she was not aware of any injuries reported in connection with the protest.

Learn more about the Aug. 2 election at this link.

Photos and video from the LHS walkout by reporter Andrea Albright:
Students gather outside Lawrence High School on May 17, 2022, in a walkout to protest the political state in Kansas. (Andrea Albright / The Lawrence Times)
Students outside Lawrence High School hold signs with messages in support of abortion rights on May 17, 2022, in a walkout to protest the political state in Kansas. (Andrea Albright / The Lawrence Times)
Photos from Free State’s protest by senior Iris Branden:
Iris Branden Free State High School students participated in a walkout on Tuesday. They protested on the sidewalk on Sixth Street near Bauer Farm Drive.
Iris Branden
Iris Branden
Iris Branden
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Iris Branden
Iris Branden
Iris Branden
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