Student walkout stands high over negativity

On+March+14%2C+D.C.E+students+walk+out+%28the+walk+out+moved+into+the+gym+for+safety+purposes+due+to+threats+from+a+student%29+to+stand+up+against+gun+violence+and+to+honor+the+17+lives+lost.+Photo+courtesy+of+Alli+Heckert.
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Student walkout stands high over negativity

On March 14, D.C.E students walk out (the walk out moved into the gym for safety purposes due to threats from a student) to stand up against gun violence and to honor the 17 lives lost. Photo courtesy of Alli Heckert.

On March 14, D.C.E students walk out (the walk out moved into the gym for safety purposes due to threats from a student) to stand up against gun violence and to honor the 17 lives lost. Photo courtesy of Alli Heckert.

On March 14, D.C.E students walk out (the walk out moved into the gym for safety purposes due to threats from a student) to stand up against gun violence and to honor the 17 lives lost. Photo courtesy of Alli Heckert.

On March 14, D.C.E students walk out (the walk out moved into the gym for safety purposes due to threats from a student) to stand up against gun violence and to honor the 17 lives lost. Photo courtesy of Alli Heckert.

Claire Gelhaus

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On March 14, D.C. Everest Senior High students, along with kids from across the nation, walked out of their classes at 10:00 a.m.. We weren’t skipping, and we weren’t heading to get lunch. We planned to stand by the flagpole at half- mast for 17 minutes of silence, only interrupted every minute by a name of a student or teacher slain in the Parkland School shooting that occurred Feb 14.

It was the activist survivors of Parkland that inspired so many like us to walk out in peaceful protest. On Feb. 15, two student groups at Everest began talking and, eventually, we merged.  For weeks in a Snapchat group chat called “#ENOUGH”, we planned meetings with school officials and proofread each other’s press releases. Our flyers advertised the walkout as a way to “speak out against gun violence,” and “honor the victims lost in mass / school shootings,” but we knew the real reason was how fiercely we wanted ourselves and all other students to live.

I remember my hands, my knees, my breaths, all shaking. When it was my turn to talk, the megaphone was passed between sweaty palms. My friends, some next to me and some joining the circle of the flag, were all crying. I’m proud to have been a part of the planning of what became such a large movement across the country.  We were calm and reverent, but many adults or those who oppose us say we were trying to skip class, and that walking out wouldn’t fix anything.

The walkout forced Americans to not forget about Parkland, just how every other shooting is eventually forgotten, until another unfortunate shooting occurs. Another effect, however, is that it will make a much wider group of teens and pre-teens entertain the idea of demonstrating.

“I think it is noteworthy that however you feel about the issue, by May, every high-school student in the United States is going to have contemplated protesting,” Dawson Barrett, an assistant professor of U.S. history at Del Mar college in Texas, said in an interview with The Atlantic.

When we passed out flyers in the morning to students as they walked in, we gave them this choice.  Bravery should not have to describe students, teenagers, as we circle our flag in silence. I am thankful to all who showed hope. Hope for change and a future where I don’t worry every day if it could be my last.

Your bravery will win over fear and hate.

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