Nishnabotna school students braved the cold Wednesday morning to gather on Main Street waving placards and chanting in protest of the outcome of the Special Election vote held on Dec. 2. The purpose of that vote was to decide whether the Hamburg and Farragut School Districts would reorganize (consolidate).
Unofficial results posted on the Fremont County Auditor's website showed 92 percent of the Farragut District in favor of consolidation, and 50.5 percent of the Hamburg District against consolidation. Each district had to pass the measure by at least 51 percent for the consolidation to pass.
HAMBURG – Nishnabotna school students braved the cold Wednesday morning to gather on Main Street waving placards and chanting in protest of the outcome of the Special Election vote held on Dec. 2.
The purpose of the Special Election was to decide whether the Hamburg and Farragut School Districts would reorganize (consolidate).
Unofficial results posted on the Fremont County Auditor's website showed that 371 voted for and 32 voted against in the Farragut District, or 92 percent in favor. In Hamburg, 264 voted for and 271 voted against, or 50.5 percent against. Each district had to pass the measure by at least 51 percent for the consolidation to pass.
Some of the students parked their pickups facing outward along the street in front of Stoner Drug and other businesses and placed signs on their windshields with sayings like "Forever Nish," "You Can't Tear Us Down, Botna Strong," and "The Storm is Coming." The students marched down the sidewalk chanting Nishnabotna cheers and whooping, then crossed the street and marched back up the other way, making a loop.
Channel 6 News (NBC) out of Omaha arrived to film the students as they marched, and interviewed several of them.
Many of the cars driving by honked in support, while others just shook their heads and drove on. One man stopped and asked if any of the protesters wanted hot chocolate and brought back hot chocolate for the students. The Fremont County Sheriff's Office had personnel on hand to monitor the situation and Deputy Randy Jones stopped several times and chatted with the students, reminding them what they could and couldn't do.
"I'm sorry we let you down," a deputy told the students as he passed.
A majority of the activity was taking place outside Stoner Drug, but employees inside had little to say about the protest.
Hamburg School Board member Phil Kuhr, also an employee at Stoner Drug, said, "Everybody has a right to say what they want. I don't have an opinion one way or the other – it doesn't affect me.
"I heard they were harassing some people in town earlier this morning, so that really doesn't further their point of view."
Becky Harbin, another employee, said "They should be in school. If they're 18 they could have voted. I'm from Missouri and we've never had this."
Another employee said that the students had marched through the store peacefully, and she didn't mind that, but it was a problem when they were blocking the door.
Students said the point of the protest was to make their opinions known.
Anne-Marie Maher said "All of the kids, 85 percent of the kids, wanted Nishnabotna. So all of these students wanted it and the students are kind of confused why the rest of the community doesn't want it."
"We're walking up and down Main Street just to show that we really do care," explained Jared Williamson. "If it doesn't matter to one parent at least it shows that we cared about us."
According to Pam Nebel at the Nishnabotna High School, around 65 students, or approximately two thirds of the high school students eventually ended up leaving school to join the protest in Hamburg. Nishnabotna Middle School students had also marched with the protesters first thing in the morning before school, but went back to school before it started.