Walker Walkout: Students protest principal’s transfer

Walker Walkout: Students protest principals transfer

On Monday, March 20, approximately 200 students participated in a walkout to protest the involuntarily transfer of Principal Patrick Walker from Cerritos High School after nine years of leadership. 

Towards the end of the snack break, walkout participants congregated in front of the ASB window. The crowd walked through the front office and exited through the front door, where they began protesting at an area around the main entrance. Tape was set up to mark the protest area; however, much of it was broken by a few protestors. Teachers and staff members came out to provide supervision. The event dispersed organically after approximately 25 minutes when ASB student organizers requested everyone to return to campus. Protesters were then guided through the school’s north gate. Within a half hour, most participants had made their way to their third period classes. 


CAPTION: Students make their way through the front office during the walkout. (Photo courtesy of Justin Costa)

There were reportedly incidents of rowdy behavior from some protesting students, such as objects being thrown and one physical encounter. Sheriffs parked near the protest on 183rd Street, arriving from the nearby police station.  A member of the school administration, Dr. Jenifer Mai, sent a memo clarifying that the protest was not officially sanctioned by the school administration. The statement supported the student’s peaceful expression of speech, but also affirmed the school’s “duty to provide a safe educational environment.” The memo also stated that all students who participated were marked tardy; however, some teachers did not do so.


CAPTION: Students exit the office building. (Photo courtesy of Eris Cardoza) 

Walker’s involuntary transfer was reportedly first announced to school faculty in a staff meeting at the CHS Theatre last Friday, March 17. Principal Walker later sent an email to CHS parents about the situation:

“For those of you who could not make it to today’s lunch meeting, I wanted to give you a brief synopsis: I am being involuntarily transferred to another school site (the location has not yet been determined) for the 2023-24 school year. Dr. Lois explained that the new Principal could be appointed by the district or could be selected through an interview process. There will be more information by the end of next week. I am heartbroken to be leaving the school I love. Yet, I am proud of all that WE have accomplished together these past nine years. No matter what the future holds for me…rest assured…I will always be a Don!” 

Word spread shortly after the announcement, and the walkout was planned over the weekend via social media.

CAPTION: Students chant “We want Walker” while holding posters and standing outside of the front office. (Photo courtesy of Eris Cardoza)

Certain anonymous sources informed local media group Los Cerritos News Network that it is probable that Artesia High School Principal Sergio Garcia will replace Walker in the 2023-24 school year. 

There has been no concrete reason for Walker’s transfer. Interim Superintendent Toan Nguyen, who is ultimately responsible for transferring Walker, stated that he could not make a comment but that all decisions were for the sake of students and administrative staff throughout the entire district. Nguyen is also transferring nearly two dozen other school administrative staff to different school sites, something that has not been done in ABCUSD in several years.