Walkout seeks to raise awareness in combating school violence

Maddie Smith, senior, holds up a sign during protest.

Kali Ray, Reporter

 A walkout protesting school violence occurred Friday, April 20, without any incidents.

Approximately 350 students attended, all standing up and leaving their classrooms at 9 a.m.

While lots of planning went into the walkout, very little of it involved the administration.

“We were just involved in safety matters,” Clint Albers, principal, said. “Ultimately it was a student led event.”

As far as success in the eyes of the administration, Albers said that the students handled themselves well and did a nice job.

“[The administration’s] only and primary responsiblity is school safety,” Albers said.

Maddie Brown, senior who lead the event, felt that the protest did well in that there were no incidents and they were able to raise awareness; however, “it would have been awesome to have politicians there to speak.”

While none attended, press did reach out for footage of the event.

“Politicians were unable to attend because we had to have both sides represented and none of the Republicans were willing to attend,” Brown said.

One of the walkout’s goals was to write letters to people at Stoneman Douglas High School and local legislators.

“We had about 25 letters written,” Brown said. “The majority of those were sent to the principal of Stoneman Douglas High School. The others were written to state legislators.”

The  League of Women Voters also came in conjunction with the walkout, registering 30 students to vote during Falcon 50.

“It was awesome to see so many young people register to vote,” said Brown.

While the event went on without anything disruptive, there were students protesting the protest itself. There was also a chant that left some students upset: “NRA, NRA, how many kids have you killed today?”

“From the standpoint of ending school violence, a lot of students see gun laws as going hand in hand with that. Since the NRA is non-partisan in and of itself, a couple of students participating wanted to voice their opinions on that,” Brown explained concerning the chant’s origins.

Brown believes that, overall, the walkout was a success.

“Our whole goal was to protest school violence, not to protest the school or school district,” Brown said. “I believe the walkout really raised awareness and it showed students that their voice does matter.”

The other high schools and some middle schools also particpated in the walkout.