Abolish OSD or establish voices?


Abolish OSD

Abolish OSD is founded in response to the crumbling of student-staff relations.

A student-run organization called Abolish OSD has been organized at Capital High School. Their message is clear: make the school district take action. Following numerous teacher misconduct cases, unheard protests, and further restrictions on student voices, Abolish OSD has taken its stance against injustice.


Abolish OSD’s self-published [maga]zines have gained major traction on Instagram, pulling in 597 total likes and mass agreement in the comment sections. These zines are the mission statements that Abolish OSD is built on. Grievances about staff inaction, student inequity, and overall district ineffectiveness are noted in both zines. Publishing these brings awareness to the discrepancies in the Olympia School District and attention to the organization. 


Volume 1 of the Abolish OSD’s zine “how many &$!? ups must we go through” lists the events students at Capital High School and River Ridge, a North Thurston Public School, have faced. “The district attempted to authoritatively shut down student protests regarding sexual assault in River Ridge High School and racism faced at a Capital High School basketball game” (AOSD). Authoritative actions include the disallowance of student walkouts on campus, continued ignorance of student voices, and permission of racial oppression through lack of action. 


“Student Alanis Blackburn says ‘Raise your hand if you have reported racism or sexual assault to the school district and they did nothing.’ Two hundred hands. We know people are reporting it.” (AOSD) Last year there were walkouts at both Capital High School and River Ridge. The notorious “protest week” at River Ridge was a protest of North Thurston Public Schools’ disregard for racial and sexual violence on campus. Capital walked out due to a Capital student harassing a River Ridge basketball player in 2021. 


In a public message, OSD Superintendant Patrick Murphy says that he does not agree with the “The act ‘is not who we are’” viewpoint. These incidents are “committed by those of us in this community. We are the community.” As a school district, it is a communal effort to create ecosystems that everyone is pleased with. Incidents that result in walkouts and protests are the result of disconnects between students and faculty.


Julian Gabbard, CHS student and founder of Abolish OSD, believes that inequity is the foundation of student complaints. “There’s not enough support for students. Especially poorer students, or those who work. Some can’t get to school every day. Some have learning disabilities.” Grading systems, faculty contact, and inactivity on the part of staff make support difficult to access. It’s hard to know what students need without their input.


Students are currently able to voice their concerns using newspapers, clubs, community board meetings, and direct letters. Olympia High School Principal, Matthew Grant, remarks on the abundance of student influence at OHS. “The more you can get people involved in these decisions, the better.” Communication is the foundation of community growth. At OHS, “what is complained about is changing.”


“Don’t judge a book by its cover. Actually read the zine… there’s a lot of in-depth detail to who we are and what we want,” says Gabbard.


Connections between the many populations of OSD and the district will remain a work in progress. “Last year there was a walk-out… I met with them because they weren’t disruptive…  it’s safety and disruptive environment. Not necessarily their point of view” says Grant. Though Capital and River Ridge face larger obstacles, there are staff members who support the students. 


Community building is an uphill battle. There have been setbacks for the Olympia School District. Arguments between students and staff. What Abolish OSD and Principal Grant agreed upon is that there needs to be growth. A community founded on disagreement will go nowhere fast.


Interview requests were made to the administration at both River Ridge and Capital High School; both declined further comment.