The Student Walkout on March 14th Written by Bella Ocasio
On February 14th, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 17 lives were lost and 14 were injured, including students and staff members. Some students all over America are beginning to wonder if they are even safe in their own schools anymore. Some others are just tired of dozens of innocent lives being lost to shootings. These students have decided they’ve had enough, triggering the National School Walkout on March 14th, where students would take 17 minutes out of their school day to either protest gun violence or pay respects to the victims.
Some schools had passionate protests – others had a calm 17 minutes of reflection on what happened and how to prevent it, or honored the victims, or even did all three of those things. In SPHS’s Student Walkout, students and staff members alike gathered together on the basketball court. First, a few student council members delivered speeches regarding the impact of social media and the importance of reporting suspicious activity. Myra Joseph, one of the council members, read “Social media has become a place for evidence to unite as well as to divide… Today and every day, we take the time to stress the importance of school safety through social media platforms, and we strive for it.”
After the two student council members spoke, all the participants held hands, putting their heads down in total silence for 17 seconds, each one for the 17 victims. After the moment of silence, 17 student council members proceeded to each take one balloon and form a line. The names of the victims were read aloud, a balloon being released in to the sky with each name.
There was no word of stricter gun laws in SPHS’s student walkout, although that was the original purpose of the Walkout: to protest current gun regulations. For this reason, many students still did not attend the National Student Walkout – and that’s respectable too. However, what’s important to remember is not to condemn students who disagreed with the walkout. Criticism or even bullying like that is what students need to work together to prevent in their school. You never know if such acceptance could prevent the next school shooting. You can read more about who planned the Walkout here: https://www.womensmarch.com/enough-faq/