The Voyage

Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

Sami Wanderer, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Approximately 400 Grafton High School students walked out of school at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14 as a part of the #Enough protests that were coordinated in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that occurred exactly one month earlier.

According to CBS News, the shooting in Parkland, Florida was among the worst in American history, resulting in 17 deaths at the hands of Nikolas Cruz, a former student armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

The Women’s March Youth Empower website states that the organization created the #Enough walkout to “demand Congress recognize all forms of gun violence, includeing violence committed by police.”

Although the walkout’s original intent was to petition for change in gun laws, Grafton students walked out for a number of different reasons.

Students make their way to the field hockey field for the walkout

 

“Personally my [reason for walking out] was just for respecting the kids who died,” freshman Stephaney Odom-Thomas said.

Odom-Thomas’s and some other students’ motivation for walking out was not political, but rather said they were only walking out to remember the people who died in the Parkland shooting.

Some students, however, carried signs with messages like “#Enough” and “Grafton Against Guns,” illustrating their opposition to current gun laws.

Seniors Natalie Dudley and Meaghan Kern were two of several students who carried signs calling for Congress to make changes to current gun laws.

“We’re the next generation. We need to be the ones stepping up to actually make a difference,” Dudley said.

Dudley carried two signs reading “Grafton Stands with Parkland” and “Grafton Against Guns.” The signs reflected her two reasons for walking out: to remember the students who died and to demand change in Congress.

Kern, carrying a sign with “#Enough” written in bold, also walked out for multiple reasons, with gun control being one.

“I would like to see them have stricter rules on who can actually buy a gun, a stricter background check and actually have them do more of a mental state check on everyone who buys a gun so stuff like this can stop happening,” Kern said.

Each student who said they wanted Congress to improve gun laws had slightly different ideas for what they wanted to see changed. There were similar patterns in what the students said they thought should be made into new laws, though.

Freshman Donna Crump, along with most participants, said she thinks automatic guns should be banned.

“I don’t find a real purpose in them except maybe if you’re going into war or something,” Crump said about automatic weapons.

Students hold signs to protest current gun laws and show their respect for the Parkland students who died in the Valentine’s Day shooting

 

Students who said they wanted increased gun laws also generally agreed that stricter restrictions should be placed on who can buy guns.

“Age restrictions and a lot of tests need to be done,” freshman Haely Rush said, referring to mental tests.

Despite their desire for increased gun laws, the majority of students who walked out to spur political change said they felt mostly safe at school, however, Crump said she did not.

“Every time there’s a bang or something like that I always shake or I get very nervous because I feel like something is going to happen,” Crump said.

The majority of students also said they would not feel safer if teachers were given guns or metal detectors were put into place.

“Teachers should not have guns, that’s for sure because I mean anyone has a breaking point, and I know that teenagers can get you there, so I don’t think that would be the safest,” Dudley said.

Junior Clinton Alexander said he believes metal detectors would not succeed in keeping students safe either and would result in an unnecessary hassle.

“If we were to put metal detectors at the front doors it would take forever to get every student in here,” Alexander said.

Alexander said he would feel safer if students were required to use their lockers and kept larger bags in there.

While most students were generally pleased with how the walkout turned out, several students commented that they were distracted by a group of students who were talking during the 17 minute moment of silence.

“I have no problem with the people that decided to stay inside, however, I don’t think it is Ok to do the walk out and then joke around the whole time; it was very upsetting to see this kind of behavior,” said senior Ben Nebe in a text message.

Since students were not penalized for walking out, some students speculated that some of their peers only walked out to get out of class.

“A lot of people were really indifferent about it,” senior Brandon Chu said about students who were talking during the 17 minutes.

Regardless of students’ motivations for participating in the walkout, administration’s sole goal was to keep the students who chose to participate safe.

“We were not promoting or denying the right but our goal was how do we have an orderly environment,” Principal Whitney Cataldo said.

Students form a heart-shape during walkout

 

Administration required teachers to have students who were participating in the walkout sign out before leaving class, and passes were handed out to keep track of students.

Cataldo said that although the school system can take no political stance on the walkout, safety remains the district’s and school’s top priority.

“Anytime we have a threat that’s a threat to safety or other students, it’s something we handle immediately. We drop everything and do that,” Cataldo said.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    The Voyage season 1 episode 11

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    The Voyage season 1 episode 9

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    The Voyage season 1 episode 8

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    Honoring the Profession

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    The Voyage season 1 episode 7

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    Students walking for a change

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    The Voyage season 1 episode 5

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    School News

    A lesson in fatherhood with Mr. Wilson

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    The Voyage season 1 episode 4

  • Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting

    News

    How the government shutdown effects the community.

The Student News Site of Grafton High School
Grafton students walkout in participation with the #Empower march following last month’s shooting