AROUND THE BEND

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National School Walkout

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In response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, a national school walkout was held on March 14th in thousands of schools around the country. The walkout lasted 17 minutes, with each minute representing each student killed in the February shooting. 11 year old Naomi Wadler and Carter Anderson added an extra minute to their elementary school’s walkout to honor Courtlin Arrington, an African American woman who was killed in an Alabama school shooting on March 7, 2018. According to the Washington Post, Wadler said she added this because, “when [African Americans] are shot and killed, or when they are killed in general, their names aren’t remembered.” The National Walkout took place in solidarity for victims of gun violence and was a call for action to Congress to pass legislation increasing gun control.
Although many schools around the country did not condone students walking out of class, Riverbend allowed students to sign up online and participate safely in the protest. SCA historian, Pia Basilica, said, “I think we collectively agreed this was something important for our school to take part in. Putting all opinions aside, this was something a lot of students were interested in participating in and we serve at the pleasure of the people, so it felt right to do our part as student representatives.” At 10 AM, students exited their classrooms and proceeded quietly to the commons where SCA officers led them into the gym. 17 minutes of silence and solidarity then took place in hopes that awareness for school safety would be raised. Principal, Dr. Wright, said, “The SCA sponsored walkout [began] at 10am and [was] a 17 minute march of silence to acknowledge the 17 victims of Stoneman Douglas High School and to promote increased measures for school safety.”
Because some high schools penalized students for participating in the walkout, nearly 200 universities agreed to not punish potential attendees of their colleges if they were suspended for this reason. Universities that participated included Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, The University of Virginia, and other renowned schools.
On average, seven children and teens are killed in America by guns every day. No matter your stance on the issue, it is clear that a change is necessary. The National Walkout was a vital step forward in the fight to end gun violence and exuded hope for future generations. The walkout at Riverbend was also a positive stride towards an increase in school safety. Basilica said, “I think [the walkout] went incredible well. While it was small scale and may have not been what some people had in mind, there was something inspiring about my fellow classmates standing together in silence for the same cause.”

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