I just want to take this moment to tell each one of you that participated in the walkout how proud I am of each one of you. This was Akaiylyn’s vision and each one of you was a champion for my family today. Some were out of pocket (and that I DO NOT CONDONE), but the majority of you that stood for Celeste did so in good faith and I can be nothing but proud of you. More than twenty students approached me at Kecoughtan and told me their sexual assault stories. I had a chance to watch video from all four high schools of students acknowledging their truths. If there was anything that came from this, it was the ability to see that sexual assault is an HCS problem. Those administrators (like at Hampton High) who said “This is not a Hampton High problem” and the administrator who interrupted students speaking their truth being told to “go ahead with that” is an embarrassment to themselves and an embarrassment to HCS as a whole. The success of a school system rests in the success and the safety of its students. Each one of you did such a brave thing and I stand with you in holding a system accountable that can’t keep you safe and secure.
So here is the thing: some students did receive discipline for participating in the walkout. Hampton City Schools stated you have “the right of peaceful assembly in school facilities during school hours as long as there is no conflict with the school’s operation or activities.” So what they are basically saying is that you can speak as long as they can’t hear you. That should not stand. If they won’t listen to you, then parents need to hold Hampton City Schools accountable with their voices and their votes. “Every Child, Every Day, Whatever It Takes,” is an apparition. If every child mattered, there would be no Celeste to protest for. There would not be countless students speaking out against being sexually assaulted on HCS property. HCS would have had a Title IX Coordinator LONG BEFORE they did — a violation of FEDERAL LAW. Wednesday, at the next school board meeting, show up. Tell your parents to show up. Let the school board know that if they can spend $150,000 to rename five schools, they can invest in sexual assault workshops. They can invest in protecting the students. Dr. Smith should not be able to snuff out your voices. You are powerful beyond measure and today, you showed how one voice can build into an army and I am forever grateful.
So I want to address what Hampton City Schools said was “not factually correct.” My family has nothing to hide. Here is the link to the police report, the statements from HCS,… and you can make your own conclusions. (https://bit.ly/8forCelestedocs) My Medium page (nikiakmiller.medium.com) outlines almost EVERYTHING my family has been through with HCS and the unethical moronic mess that is the Hampton School Board. Again, make your own conclusions. I have absolutely nothing to hide and since every last one of you was willing to stand with Akaiylyn, Celeste, and our family, I owe it to you to be completely transparent.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. You did something profound today. Be proud of yourselves.
- Nikia #8forCeleste