Late last week the Grants Pass Police Department was notified by School District 7 officials of a student-led walk-out planned for today, November 16, 2021.
The school district requested a police presence at Grants Pass High School and both Grants Pass Middle Schools to monitor what was anticipated to be a peaceful twenty-five-minute protest by students.
Officers were deployed at all three schools as requested. Both North and South Middle Schools had a small number of student participants with no reported problems. At 1:48 PM approximately 200-300 students gathered in front of the Grants Pass High School 9thStreet entrance in an apparent protest that had moved into and blocked the street. Additional police officers arrived to protect the group’s right to freedom of speech and to maintain public peace and safety.
In opposition to the student protesters, other participants with counter opinions arrived at the high school. The differing opinions of the participants led to a clash between students and counter-protesters. During the discord, a 15-year-old female student intentionally subjected another citizen to offensive physical contact by spitting in the adult male’s face. The juvenile was detained and escorted out of the area with criminal charges pending.
Following a temporary lull in emotions, a 14-year-old female student began swinging a broomstick at the same adult male citizen. The juvenile was detained for second-degree Disorderly Conduct and transported to the Josephine County Juvenile Justice Center where she was cited and released to a parent. While officers were taking the 14-year-old female into custody, a 19-year-old Lillyana Audley, a resident of Medford, attempted to prevent officers from making the arrest. Audley also encouraged others to block officers and the officer’s vehicle. Audley was arrested and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Riot, Second Degree Disorderly Conduct, and Interfering with Police.
Using de-escalation tactics, officers encouraged one side of the opposing groups to peacefully leave the area. At that point, a substantial number of students returned to class leaving approximately 100 students who refused. The remaining students were left under the control and care of school staff.