Students walk out of Venice High School Monday to protest alleged discrimination

Monday, June 05, 2017 08:28PM
Venice High School students walked out of classes Monday to call for the removal of their principal for what they allege to be racist and discriminatory behavior.


LOS ANGELES - Students at Venice High School walked out of classes Monday to protest what they allege to be racist and discriminatory behavior by their principal.

The walkout was organized by students grades nine through 12 who stood in support of the removal of Dr. Oryla Wiedoeft.

The students claim Wiedoeft has a history of blatantly discriminating against students and staff of color.

The students represented clubs such as Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano a de Aztlan, the Black Student Union, and the Gay Straight Alliance.

Students said the principal rejected MEChA's request to make the school's robocalls to parents in Spanish, delayed gender-neutral restroom accessibility and "systematically" fired a teacher of color. Students also said she rejected Black History Month celebrations allegedly using racist language to discredit their ideas.

Most recently, Wiedoeft apparently fired the only black college counselor, Guy Cerda.

"I feel very upset that he's leaving," said freshman Mya Edwards. "There's no valid reason for it and he's impacted so many of the students in such positive ways."

"He helped my friends and I enroll into West L.A for college prep classes. He's taught me about resumes, budget, and different options for college. I'm very hurt and upset by the unjust firing of Mr. Cerda," Edwards said.

Students demanded that the superintendent remove Wiedoeft as principal and keep Cerda as a college counselor to ensure a safe and accessible place for all students to learn.

A Los Angeles Unified School District statement did not address the walkout, but instead referred to higher test score averages, lower suspension rates and numbers that showed increased enrollment over the past two years.

"Through the vision, leadership, and innovative spirit of the faculty, the school has reestablished trust and pride in our community as a place where students can receive an outstanding, cutting edge education," the district said.
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