Local high school teacher Kaia Hirt chained herself to a metal fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday evening in a protest pushing for police reform as the Derek Chauvin murder trial proceeded inside.
Hirt, who teaches 10th grade English at Champlin Park High School, said she was demonstrating to show her support for families of those who have been killed by police. She wants local politicians to do more to support police reform legislation.
“I’m frustrated by local and state officials’ failure to address racist policing in the community,” Hirt said, as she sat chained to a fence that authorities erected in the Government Center plaza as part of security precautions for the trial.
Bundled in a sweatshirt, blanket, and gloves, Hirt said she was relieved that Floyd’s family has been treated with dignity by authorities, but she noted that other families of those who have been killed in altercations with police are still hurting. She said those families need support as well
“We will not have justice until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,” Hirt said.
When it comes to talking to students about racism and current events, Hirt said there is no such thing as political neutrality.
“When we say nothing about the things that are going on in our world … We are failing them as educators,” Hirt said.