Clear Springs High School students discuss local activism, reform after leading peaceful protest

More than 300 people peacefully protested in the League City area June 14 in a gathering led by Clear Springs High School students. (Courtesy Jason Kumelski)
More than 300 people peacefully protested in the League City area June 14 in a gathering led by Clear Springs High School students. (Courtesy Jason Kumelski)

More than 300 people peacefully protested in the League City area June 14 in a gathering led by Clear Springs High School students. (Courtesy Jason Kumelski)

Image description
Layla Vital was one of the three Clear Springs seniors who helped organize the demonstration. (Courtesy Jason Kumelski)
Image description
Mayor Pat Hallisey attended the protest; Durshun Shah (center) was another of the organizers. (Courtesy Jason Kumelski)
Image description
The protest route was 3.6 miles in total, starting at Clear Springs High School and traveling along FM 518 and Bay Area Boulevard. (Courtesy Jason Kumelski)
Image description
Organizers said their goal for the protest was to encourage their peers to pay attention to social issues and understand the importance of taking action locally. (Courtesy Jason Kumelski)
Houston-area residents have engaged in protests and demonstrations throughout the month in the wake of George Floyd’s death, including three rising seniors at Clear Creek ISD.

Durshun Shah, Hannah Kuecker and Layla Vital, all students at Clear Springs High School, helped to organize a peaceful protest against police brutality and inequality on the afternoon of June 14. Nearly 300 people of all ages attended, Vital said, including League City Mayor Pat Hallisey and U.S. District 14 candidate Adrienne Bell. The students' goal was to encourage their peers to pay attention to social issues and understand the importance of taking action locally, including showing up at the polls for upcoming elections.

The group chose to start and end the demonstration at their high school, Shah said, because they want to see more discussions about race and inequality happening in the district’s classrooms. The students agreed that their history education at CCISD could be more inclusive; for example, their Advanced Placement history textbooks have small sections on women’s history and Black history, but this history is not integrated throughout the course, Kuecker said.

Vital said she hopes to see local educators take a different approach to history education that includes discussion around Black civil rights movements and organizers, such as the Black Panther Party.

“When we touch on Black history, it’s kind of limited in the sense where we only talk about stuff like slavery,” she added. “We need to broaden the standpoint on what we teach on Black history.”


The group spoke at a League City City Council meeting June 9. Kuecker said they have formed a loose agenda, including goals related to making local education more inclusive and transparent.

Police reform is also at the top of their agenda: Kuecker said they would like to see the basic tenets of the proposed Justice in Policing Act of 2020 applied in League City, regardless of what happens with the bill at a federal level. In an ideal world, there would be a more trusting relationship between police officers and the communities they serve, Shah said.

“We don't have all the answers—we’re just teenagers—but we’re identifying there’s a problem in our society,” Shah said.

Vital agreed, emphasizing the importance of starting uncomfortable conversations.

“I hope that we’re going to get the ball rolling talking about this,” Vital said. “I just hope it sparks more empathy for the issues people of color have to go through.”

By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

<

MOST RECENT

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

Texas Medical Center reports only 4% uptick in ICU bed use despite continued COVID-19 case increases

Compared to 1,350 total intensive care units in use June 30, Texas Medical Center has seen only a slight uptick in occupancies since then, with 1,394 reported July 9.

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
Refinancing a home, police departments address protests: Popular news this week from Greater Houston

Read popular stories from the Greater Houston area on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Harris County. (Community Impact Staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 907 cases, 12 deaths confirmed July 9

The 12 deaths—the largest single day total in Harris County since the pandemic began—brings the total COVID-19 death count in the county to 423.

Firefighters, police officers, solid waste collectors and bus drivers in Houston have all been affected by coronavirus exposure. (Courtesy Pexel)
From solid waste collectors to firefighters, Houston’s public workers facing strain from coronavirus exposures

Houston’s core city services are being strained by coronavirus exposures, city leaders report.

The Texas Republican State Convention was set to be held July 16-18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Two new lawsuits aim to reverse GOP convention cancellation

The lawsuits come the day after the contract for hosting the event was terminated.

An average of 225 cases a day have been reported so far in July in Galveston County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Galveston County adds 734 new coronavirus cases

There were 3,565 total cases in the county at the start of July. The latest totals on July 9 show a 49% increase in cases over the course of a week.

Effective July 9, hospitals in more than 100 counties across the state must now postpone elective surgeries unrelated to COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MAP: Governor expands restrictions on elective surgeries to more than 100 Texas counties

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expanded the restrictions that initially required only hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures that are unrelated to COVID-19.