Walkouts in Wake of the Shootings

Abigail McCoy, Staff Writer

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March 14, 2018 marks exactly a month since the Parkland, Florida shooting; 17 dead, 14 students, three staff members, and another 17 injured, by 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz with an AR-15. The survivors of the shooting had planned a national walkout for this day as a protest in order to bring attention to the lacking gun control laws in this country. On March 14th there was a national walkout planned for 10 a.m. during school hours; many lasted 17 minutes due to the fact that the walkouts were only scheduled for that long, with one minute for each of the victims of the Parkland shooting. Though many of the walkouts lasted longer than the specified 17 minutes, with some lasting until the school day was over or until they were threatened with consequences.

The point of these protests, the reason they were organized, was to, while standing with Florida in wake of the shooting, take a stand against gun control. Of course most schools didn’t allow their students to do this, which is messed up as it takes away the students’ right to free speech, and to peacefully protest. More often than not, schools, most notably Needville High, in Texas, who threatened students with 3 day suspensions if their students participated in the protests, have given out punishments or threatened students with them.

I firmly believe schools should not be able to infringe on their student’s right to protest, and their right of free speech. Some schools are attempting to push their own political beliefs onto students by either banning the talk of the walkouts or mandating a walkout/sit-in as an alternative. The idea of a mandated walkout or activity that schools are forcing every student to do is basically just shoving their ideals onto the students. The thing with the protests were that they were entirely voluntary, and  only the people who wanted to participate actually did. But with these mandated assemblies, everyone has to be a part of it, even if they don’t believe in the cause. Walkouts were voluntary, these “assemblies” were not and that is incredibly unfair and is taking part in taking away students’ rights.

These walkouts are important to the students, they help them make a difference since most students are too young to actually vote on important matters. Protesting is the students way of being seen, instead of writing letters to congress, which doesn’t really work. Congress doesn’t care about the students. The only way for young adults to make a change or bring attention to themselves is by doing the walkouts for change.