More than 150 students walked out of Hopkins High School Friday afternoon to bring attention to what they say is unequal treatment of African-American teens.
Some black students at Hopkins High say they are punished more severely than white students. They say they've brought their concerns to the administration to little effect.
The walkout comes after an incident earlier thes month when two African-American teens were charged with misdemeanors. According to a police report, one student put a hand on a school police officer while attempting to re-claim posters in an administrator's office. The posters protested what some students called "Ghetto Day" staged by other students in February.
Administrators took down the posters. Hopkins High School principal Patty Johnson said the students did not follow proper protocol.
University of St. Thomas associate law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds represents the two students charged and was at the walkout.
"The fact that there was such a large contingent of students who felt the same way gave them the courage to raise their voices and express their perspectives about the unjust treatment that they have allegedly had to endure," Levy-Pounds said.
In a statement, Jolene Goldade, public relations and communications coordinator for Hopkins Public Schools said officials responded fairly and appropriately. The statement said the school takes the matter seriously and intervenes when a student brings an issue to an administrator.
"Our high school has a richly diverse student body, and we are committed to teaching all students. We recognize our student's right to protest, but also invite them to come back into the building to share any grievances they may have with the high school administration," the statement read.
The statement also said that Hopkins principal Johnson will host a listening session for any student who wishes to be heard.