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NA students join nationwide walkout

During and after school students and faculty will try to make a difference in just 17 minutes.

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On March 14 at 10 a.m. more than 100 NAHS students  joined others across the nation in an attempt to make a difference in response to recent gun violence. Early in the week both faculty and peers tried to discourage them, but determined Bulldogs walked out of class to honor the 17 victims of the Florida shooting. Over 2,500 walkouts were planned nationally, according to EMPOWER.

“I understand a moment of silence for the victims in [Parkland] Florida,” one junior who decided not to participate said. “What I don’t understand is why would you leave the school. It seems like you’re protesting the school itself. If anything we should stand united as a school, like all together do something about the recent violence.”

This event is not just in New Albany, it’s nationwide protest. Students and teachers across the U.S. planned on walking out of their schools and universities to honor the lives of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas and press lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws, according to EMPOWER, the group organizing the action.

By doing this, Americans are demanding many changes by Congress: ban assault weapons, require universal background checks before gun sales, and pass a gun violence restraining order law that would allow courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behavior, according to CNN.

A school can never protect us from something impossible to predict, let alone anywhere else. No building or person can predict the impossible, let alone protect hundreds of people.”

— Anonymous Senior

“The school isn’t the issue, I feel like by participating we are putting a target on us,” one senior said. “A school can never protect us from something impossible to predict, let alone anywhere else. No building or person can predict the impossible, let alone protect hundreds of people.”

Many parents, students, and faculty are surprised schools are even allowing this demonstration to take place. Several students didn’t participate due to other’s opinions. Teachers have voiced their displeasure about the walkout and suggest that all the problems can be fixed by the world becoming a nicer place.

“It’s a cause at the end of the day,” the junior said. “It’s a stupid way of a cause, yes and I understand the argument to befriend others but if that’s how they’re gonna take a stand and show unity as a nation you can’t discourage them.”

Students’ desires and rights to participate in civil discourse are being cast aside without a second thought. While students do have a First Amendment right to protest, those whose schools forbid participation in the walkout could still legitimately face consequences. By walking out students could face disciplinary action without the permission of school administrators. According to CNN, schools have threatened to slap students with unexcused absences, docked grades or suspensions if they choose to join the walkout. Some school districts that originally took that stance have since backed off and have tried to compromise. The Needville Independent School District in Texas said several weeks ago that anyone participating in walkouts or protests would be suspended for three days.

“As awful as it sounds, I am not going to get up and walk out of class until someone else does,” one sophomore said. “If my friends or classmates do it, I will. But with prom around the corner I also don’t want to risk missing out on that.”

At the end of the day, we are still Americans. In order to make a difference or to change you have to get some power and be persistent. School shootings still have no definite cause, but if the student’s don’t feel safe that has to mean something. People claim to get guns because they’re unsafe or because other “crazies” have them. So what will it take to feel safe?

This isn’t just about school anymore, this is about us. It is said we write history, why aren’t we allowed to now when it’s most needed?

__________________________________________________

What’s next for us?

Today, after school there will be another gathering for all students and faculty who couldn’t participate in the national walk out.

What’s next for the nation?

According to CNN, after the walkout student activists and their supporters will turn their attention to the “March for Our Lives” protest planned for Saturday, March 24. Though the main event will be held in Washington, satellite marches are planned across the United States and overseas for everyone to partake in.

“March for Our Lives” was started by survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and aims to pressure Congress to pass stricter gun control laws.

CNN also said that the Network for Public Education has called for another observance to take place on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. The organization is calling for people to take their own action to bring attention to school safety on a “National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools.”

 

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NA students join nationwide walkout