Walkout unites students in activism

Students participate in the national school walkout against gun violence

Students+express+their+support+for+victims+of+gun+violence+and+frustration+for+a+lack+of+school+safety+%7C+Guthrie
Students express their support for victims of gun violence and frustration for a lack of school safety | Guthrie

Students express their support for victims of gun violence and frustration for a lack of school safety | Guthrie

Students express their support for victims of gun violence and frustration for a lack of school safety | Guthrie

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Students are still talking about the walkout a week later with varying opinions, particularly debating the status of the walkout as a political protest or a neutral memorial.

Junior Molly van Gorp was glad the walkout shifted from honoring victims to reform. She said, “I have a friend who goes to Loyola, and theirs seemed much more focused on memorial or mourning of victims. They stated a name for each minute, and it was arranged by the students and administrators together.”

Senior Eden Hirschfield felt that the school’s facilitation of the walkout was a good idea. “I think this was still a disruption. This is a government building, and they are supporting our cause, and I think that’s progressive and I think that’s important,” said Hirschfield.

Senior Albert Yen said, “If I was a school administrator. I would definitely do the same thing, because I would want students to be safe. We’re still expressing our point, and I think it’s even better that we didn’t get a truancy for it.”

The decision to make a special schedule to help students participate in the national protest created some controversy regarding their level of involvement.

Senior Andrew Eisenstein said, “I don’t necessarily agree with how the school organized the entire thing, but I think it’s important to support the movement.”

Senior Helen Ware, one of the many supporters at the gathering on the track, said, “What happened today was definitely more of a memorial. A protest has to disrupt something; it has to cause a ruckus and cause a change. [Since] we had the period off, it didn’t really cause a change.”

She added that the way to make a change is by reaching out to legislators, senators, and candidates running for office.

Sophomore Trey Bess agreed, “If we want to get political we need to start talking to people who can actually make a change. I think what’s more important is that we remember who was killed. We can worry about gun control later.”

Junior Sabrina Morris participated in the walkout because she has a personal connection to the event.

Morris’ cousin is currently a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

She said, “[My cousin] was really curious to see how schools outside of FL were reacting. She’s in full support of our walkout. For her it’s also about just bringing attention to the issue and the walkout was a good way to do that and hopefully get the conversation going.”

Junior Carly Lewin said, “I went to the walkout to protest the current gun laws. I don’t want to be the next victim.”

“I hope this gets the government to think about gun laws and restrictions and school safety,” added Morris

While school safety is a common priority, not everyone was protesting gun laws. Junior Chaney Laros did not participate in the walkout because of the political elements.

“I knew it was going to be political because I saw them selling those shirts, but if it was just a memorial I definitely would have participated. It was just too political,” Laros said.

“It’s definitely a memorial, but obviously it has political undertones. I don’t think this was organized to be a political movement but I definitely think that it was inevitable that there were going to be political undertones,” added Hirschfield.

While opinions vary on how the school managed the walkout, Eisenstein said, “It’s a general mindset – the more people that come together, the better – it doesn’t have to be political.”

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