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Somali students in St. Cloud walk out to protest bullying and alleged discrimination

More than 100 students and parents, mostly Somali, took part in Wednesday’s protest at St. Cloud Technical High School.

A large group of Somali students walked out of St. Cloud Technical High School in protest Wednesday, saying they are bullied and discriminated against.

More than 100 people, mostly Somali, gathered on the school’s lawn just before noon; some parents were there, too.

According to the St. Cloud Times, student organizers said they walked out because the school hasn’t responded to reports about disputes between Somali and non-Somali students, and that administrators discipline Somali students more harshly than others.

Students remaining in the school were kept in their classrooms during the protest.

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Some protesters told the paper that the walkout was spurred, in part, by social media posts Tuesday of a picture of a Somali student in a wheelchair, with a caption that implied she was involved with ISIS. And last week, fruit was thrown at a Somali student performing on stage during a cultural heritage show at the school.

A parent at the protest said her junior-high daughter had been taunted, too. “They think that all Somalis and all Muslims are terrorists,” Sadwda Ali said. “That’s totally wrong. Our religion is peace.”

There has been no official response from the St. Cloud School District, although today on its website it says:

“Apollo High School is currently in containment. Students are attending classes on a normal schedule. This is a precautionary measure in response to events at Tech High School yesterday.”