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Students Demand Change in Planned National Walkout


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Over 598 students at SJHHS have committed to leave their classrooms at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes on March 14. They will be joined by students at schools all over the nation.

In addition to honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting, they will be acting to demand change and new legislation to prevent more student deaths in school shootings, but are open to all students’ opinions as to what that change should entail.

The idea was introduced by the Women’s March Organization in response to the shooting on February 14 in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to a 19 year-old with an AR-15.

The community and the United States as a whole were outraged about this tragedy; but, unlike any other previous mass shootings, high school students stood up and demanded change. In addition to organizing school walkouts and marches, the MSDHS students have gone to the White House and other legislative bodies to tell their stories and propose action.

The Tuesday following the Parkland shooting, students at SJHHS arrived to find the campus covered in posters with the victims’ names and stories on them.

They were put up by five seniors, who wish to remain anonymous, on the Monday night of Presidents’ Day Weekend.

The students came up with the idea after being frustrated by the focus of the national conversation.

“All of them did at least one thing that I could relate to, reminded me of someone I already know, each of them really had a beautiful story, even if they were real, flawed people like you and me,” said one student.

By the end of second period, they were all taken down by administration. It took them three hours to take all 850 flyers down.

The person behind the initiative was very angry by administration’s decision.

“It’s a memorial. I get that we didn’t go through the right procedures to get permission to put them up, but it shouldn’t matter because they were flyers about dead kids. It’s not like we did this to a government building or a sacred church. It’s a public high school,” said another student.

There was also confusion because of administration’s past decisions.

“Unlike the polarizing political election they allowed students to embrace just this last year, they silence something everyone can come together over – lives that should not have been lost, and the meaning that they can still have to each of us, as individuals and as a school. Why will you let students talk about one and not the other?,” they said.

Darrin Jindra, the assistant principal who ordered the posters to be taken down, felt as if the posters were appropriate, but whoever put them up did not get permission to do so. If they had gone through ASB, the posters would have been left up, according to Jindra.

“I believe in freedom of speech. With freedom of speech, you also have to be prepared to accept the consequences that go along with it,” said Jindra.

For the people who put up the flyers, the walkout is a great next step in ensuring change, and they all plan to take part in it.

Students who walkout will have the opportunity to call and write letters to their Congresspeople, as well as pay tribute to the 17 people lost in the tragedy.

“It makes me proud to say that I am a part of the generation that doesn’t sit around and wait for the problem to be fixed but fixes it themselves,” said junior Hannah Hughitt, who has been involved in the planning of the walkout.

No matter what side of the political spectrum or what gun ideation a person holds, the event is planned as non-partisan and about more than just guns. It is about school-safety, no matter what someone thinks it looks like.

Administration has affirmed that no students will be penalized for walking out of class for those 17 minutes; however, they reserve the right to discipline inappropriate behavior.

The March for our Lives will also take place all around the globe on March 24, and another nationwide walkout is being planned for April 20. For more information, follow the organizers’ Instagram @sjhstudentwalkout or The Express’s continual coverage.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Students Demand Change in Planned National Walkout”

  1. Dave on March 14th, 2018 1:35 PM

    The article begins with mentioning a list of students that have agreed to walk out. Who is controlling this list and who has access to it? My concern is that its going to turn into a list of people that political activists can recruit from or used to label these students and, also to vilify the students that did not agree to walk out. In a time when we are trying to not isolate kids , I don’t think a list of minors that are willing to get involved in adult politics to be interpreted differently depending on different political views is a good idea. If the school wants to do a ’17 minutes or silence’ to reflect, pray or just pay respects, I would applaud that 100%! But I’m not sure walking out of class will be productive. To the kids at SJHHS – Whether you walked out or not, talk to your parents about it, we are not your enemies! Tell them how it went and what you heard. Be sure to take everything in and investigate statements and statistics your hear to see if they are true. We (your parents) may have different opinions on it or maybe not but we also may have more info and insight and certainly more wisdom gained with age so talk to them .

  2. Kate Finman on March 15th, 2018 8:59 PM

    The students who were organizing the walkout just needed a rough number of kids who planned to walkout so that they could have the proper materials. Names are not being recorded or analyzed, and the list will not be in the hands of anyone else, including anyone at SJHHS or any political organizations or movements. The walkout was handled as a memorial and there was a moment of silence. Students were encouraged to have conversations, as a means for inciting change. It was completely voluntary, and students who wished to stay in the classroom did so.

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