In Favor of The Walkout
By Lauren Halverson
On February 14th, Nikolas Cruz walked into Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 and killed 17 people. In the weeks since this tragedy, there has been a lot of dialogue about mental health, gun control, and how we keep our schools safe. Sit-ins, protests, and marches have flooded every social media timeline, but perhaps the most publicized event is the nationwide student walkout scheduled for March 14th.
These events are being championed by students. Students want to make their voice heard. It is the students who are most affected by this, so it makes sense that students would want to take a stand.
A disturbing trend that I have noticed is the mass disapproval of this protest. I have heard that it is ineffective, that people who participate are stupid, and any other criticism under the sun.
Protests are always met with opposition of some kind, but I never thought my fellow students would challenge it. We are protesting for STUDENTS. We have a right to feel safe at school. In the last few weeks, dozens upon dozens of students were absent because they were too scared to come to school. There were two threats of a shooting at our school in the same week. Almost every day there is news of another threat or incident of a school shooting somewhere in this country. There is an epidemic of school violence in our country and something has to change that.
Participating in a walkout shows our lawmakers and community that a conversation has to start, and that we, the students want and need to be part of that conversation. Students need to show that we will not wait for another shooting to happen before we make change. To those who disapprove of the walkout, don’t participate. Nothing is forcing you to take part. Your opinion is valid, and I believe you should do whatever feels comfortable for you. In that same vein, I ask that you treat those of us choosing to participate with respect, as everyone grieves and expresses concern in different ways. No form of non-violent protest is better than another, so allow your fellow students to participate the way they choose.
"I will be participating in a walkout in an effort to be a part of the conversation."
Tomorrow, I will be leaving class for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives that were lost in Florida’s shooting. During that time, I will be writing a letter to my Senator regarding my right to feel safe at school, and the measures that are needed to achieve that.
Against The Walkout By Jenna Hays
In light of the Parkland Shooting, students across the country are taking part in a "walk out" on March 14th in remembrance of the one-month mark of the Florida shooting. Brighton High School does not have school the 14th, so some students have talked about holding a walk out on the 13th.
I will not be a part of this. I believe that participating in this "walk-out" is disrespectful. I understand that students want to bring light to the situation; however, walking out of a class is not the right way to do it. I believe that our education is a priority and should be valued to every single one of us. Our education is incredibly important and rather than disrespecting our free education. Disrespecting it for a movement that can be honored in other ways outside of the classroom. So honor this privilege that numerous other kids across the nation don’t have access to and stay in class and learn.
I am left wondering why are students planning a walk out and what will that accomplish? It is not simply the school district's fault or the teachers fault that school shootings are happening. It is the government who should be taking more steps to protect us and take more of an initiative to stop those who are deciding to commit horrid crimes upon students in schools. I do not believe the government will take the walkout seriously. They will not view it as an important act of protest, even if they decide to acknowledge the walk out at all. Along with that, I do not believe that there will be enough students to make a big enough impact to draw the government’s attention. The government has more important priorities rather than watching a few students walk out of a school. The government is providing us with free education, and perhaps they will view the students walking out as not valuing their opportunity they are given to learn.
"I truly believe that it will not accomplish anything more than ditching class."
I have talked to students who want to walk out and make a change in our world, and for that I respect them despite my disagreement. However, I am also aware of students who will walk out as an excuse to ditch class. So if you are planning on participating in the walk out to make a change, more power to you. As for me, I will be in class, and I will be thinking of a better way to make my voice heard.
The Walk Out at Brighton High School occurred March 13th at 10:00 am. Students gathered around the bulldog statue outside the school to write letters to senators and have 17 minutes of silence in respect for the 17 that dies in the Florida shooting. Other students read words of encouragement as administration watched from the sidelines.