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In wake of walkout, St. Cloud administrators meet with Somali students

St. Cloud school officials met with Somali students after dozens of them walked out Wednesday to protest bullying and discrimination.

St. Cloud school administrators have met with Somali students following a walkout Wednesday by dozens of the students at the city’s Technical High School.

Students, who were joined by many parents, stayed on the school lawn for several hours, saying they wanted to draw attention to a lack of school response to bullying and alleged discrimination.

School resumed as usual Thursday and Friday.

Superintendent Willie Jett told the St. Cloud Times Thursday that discussions with students were ongoing:

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“The students yesterday felt that their voice needed to be heard. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, and I’m not saying protesting was the right thing to do. But it’s our job … to make sure we listen. We would do that for any student that brings us an issue.”

Abdul Kulane, a Somali leader who ran for city council, told the paper that no agreements were reached in a meeting he attended Thursday meeting between students and administration. “It’s troubling,” he said. “Emotions are very high. … Some of them were crying, some of them were in tears.”

Still, he said: “I think it’s an opportunity to create a dialogue. When people are emotional, they tend to be honest. … We can’t get away from it. … We have to deal with emotions … and have a concrete plan to solve this problem.”