National Walk Out Day

Jake Yencik

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On March 14th, 2018, hundreds of students at North Hills as well as tons of other high schools across the country left their classrooms at 10:00 AM for 17 minutes in remembrance of the Florida school shooting victims.  This event, which started as a protest for stricter gun control has been instead referred to as a “remembrance of victims” by North Hills school staff, presumably to prevent controversy and conflict between students. More than 2,500 walkouts were planned by the youth branch of the Women’s march, all with varying levels of protest.  North Hills students took to the hallways and sat for 17 minutes in silence, a bell ringing at each minute for each of the 17 victims. While North Hills took this approach, many schools held full scale protests with signs, megaphones, and chanting.

One of the most powerful walkouts came from Columbine High School in Litteton, Colorado.  Columbine was the site of one of the first major school shootings to ever take place on April 20th, 1999.  The columbine walkout consisted of rallying for stricter gun control laws along with the students releasing red, white, and blue balloons into the sky.  A gun control protest also took place in Washington, D.C. in front of the White House and Capitol building. Survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Florida marched on to the school’s football field for a protest, in front of hundreds of spectators that gathered to watch it take place.  Less than a month ago, many of the same students took buses to Washington D.C. to enter the Capitol building and speak directly to both Democrat and Republican Lawmakers. According to an organizer of the walkouts from the Women’s March, around 185,000 total students across the country participated in them.  This makes the walkouts by far the largest nationwide protest ever held primarily by high school students.

While here at North Hills, administrators allowed the walkout to take place, several schools were strongly against these walkouts and punished students for participating.  Greenbrier Public School in central Arkansas even went as far as hitting students that participated. According to one student’s Mother, “My kid and two other students walked out of their rural, very conservative, public school for 17 minutes today, They were given two punishment options. They chose corporal punishment. This generation is not playing around.”  President Trump has not publicly acknowledged the walkouts at all. He was met by many eager reporters outside the White House asking him for comments, but did not respond. White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah claimed “The president shares the students’ concerns about school safety” in response to reporters.  No new gun control laws have been passed since the Parkland shootings, however the House of Representatives recently passed the “STOP school violence act of 2018.” This act advocated for school safety training and security equipment in order to prevent school shootings.

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