What is the Walkout?

Student organizers plan to protest after dismissal April 20


Students take the time to reflect on the tragedy in Parkland, Florida by participating in a Walkout on March 14, 2018.

Kaitlyn Burdine, Reporter

Students around the nation walked out of schools March 14 with the intention of peacefully protesting; there are plans for more student walkouts.

Several protests have been a trending topic for Americans after a recent mass shooting on February 14 in Parkland, Florida when 19-year-old, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people, according to Time.

This event shed a light on several other mass shootings early in 2018. The tragedy brought up conversations concerning gun control, mental health, and school shootings as a whole. The Walkout is one of the protests making headlines and being discussed among people across the nation and NAHS is no exception.

“The plan calls for high school students to walk out on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, from 10:00 a.m. local time until the end of the school day,” according to Time.

Sophomore Mary Kate Howell and junior Bango Kelly heard of the national protest and wanted to participate. They took their ideas on the Walkout to assistant principal Mr. Ryan Apple which led to a discussion about Walkout in relation to the attendance policy.

 “We’re doing it [on April 20] directly after school, instead of just walking out, because it’ll be more organized,” Howell said. “Since we’re doing it this way, the administrators, including Mr. Apple, will march with us. So that’ll make more students who were wary to participate more motivated to march.”

Many worried students were happy to hear that they could participate without violating school’s policy. However, some weren’t as excited.

“A protest is supposed to break the rules in a peaceful manner to show you mean it,” a sophomore who wishes to remain anonymous said. “The Walkout is supposed to show that the student body means it [enabling school safety] and we’re willing to accept disciplinary action for it.”

Though NAHS isn’t following the original stipulations for the Walkout, it is still intended to be a protest.

“The same principles still stand here, we’re still fighting for the same thing,” Howell said. “Just because it’s a few hours later and we’re not leaving our classroom doesn’t mean we don’t still have the same intentions as other schools around the country.”

The march’s intention is unclear to many at NAHS. Students are confusing the march for much broader issues and basing their willingness to participate off of their opinions on those issues.

“The intention is to basically have our voices heard and to show that something has to be done,” Howell said. “There are multiple aspects going on whether you think it’s strictly gun control, whether you think it’s strictly mental illness, you know we’re all coming together and voicing those opinions. All in all, I think we can all agree that it’s not just one solution. Some things outweigh others but again this is us just standing up and saying we’ve had enough.”

Though many students are in support of the march and have made the decision to participate, there are still some who are wary due to the plan for the march being unknown.

“Automatically you realize that marching to downtown New Albany is a pretty long stretch,” Howell said. “We’re still going to figure out the exact route. Aside from the march, I was thinking of setting something up in a Bicentennial Park downtown, though this isn’t for sure. Then we could have all students congregate and talk about the issue, that would be good.”

As long as a student has the right intentions and wants to stand for what they believe in, this march will benefit that individual.

“Remember the upcoming march (April 20) is students uniting and working towards a solution,” Howell said. “Nothing will be done if our voices aren’t heard. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Be sure to wear orange on both days and bring signs if you wish.”