‘We’re standing for what we believe in’: Local students join national walkout

    1255
    10

    Hundreds of students across the Edmonds School District joined a nationwide walkout on Wednesday morning to remember those killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. exactly one month ago and to encourage legislators to pass what they call common sense gun legislation.

    Protests across the country began at 10 a.m. and lasted for 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed in Parkland.

    In the Edmonds School District, demonstrations were varied and included several middle and high schools. A walkout at Lynnwood High School had an estimated 200 students gather and sit on the football field for 17 minutes. At Meadowdale High School, about 200 students spoke and formed a heart while a student’s drone photographed them from above. At Edmonds-Woodway High School, where approximately 200 students gathered in the school courtyard, a table was set up for students to write messages and postcards conveying their sympathies to those in Parkland. In Mountlake Terrace, 250 students made a ring around the high school track. Scriber Lake High School and Edmonds Heights K-12 students were also among the schools represented in the walkout, with an estimated 40 and 75 students participating respectively.

    Mountlake Terrace High School students ring the school track. (Photo by Ken Pickle)

    “Hey, hey, we’re no fools. Stop the guns, protect our schools,” chanted Scriber Lake students, who had walked from the school to the corner of Edmonds Way and 100th Avenue West.

    “I’m very scared and nervous,” said Kyra Wasbrekke, a senior at Scriber Lake High School. “The gun violence issue affects everyone from every type of school. It broke my heart seeing the coverage of the Florida shooting. We need to do everything we can to make sure our youth can get an education safely. It’s a political matter and it needs to be handled now.”

    Jasmine Smith, a sophomore at Scriber, is also feeling scared. But on Wednesday morning, she was also feeling something else.

    “Seeing all of us out here and knowing it’s going on nationwide is really exciting,” she said. “Everyone is contributing, and the energy is there. I’m really hopeful this will be what we need to start some change.”

    Elsewhere in the district, other groups gathered on school grounds and shared ideas.

    “Enough is enough,” said Meadowdale student Carrie Petersen. “I think it’s time that we make a change.”

    “Your right to own an AR-15 is not worth any child’s life,” said one Meadowdale student.

    “Open your eyes. This isn’t right,” added another.

    For students at Lynnwood High School, the walkout was also meant to signal to legislators that they want stronger gun control laws.

    A group gathers on the Lynnwood High School football field. (Photo by Natalie Covate)

    Holding a sign that declared “Never Again,” sophomore Isabeau Rosen said, “There are a lot of people who are afraid to go to school. That should not happen.”

    She added that schools should be a safe place of learning, and that is not possible without gun control.

    Junior Johnkea Marshall said she walked out to show the government she wants change.

    “We are the future,” she said. “We’re standing for what we believe in.”

    She said her generation will be in office within 10 years, and she wants lawmakers to know where they stand on gun legislation.

    Sophomore Brian Nguyen wanted to represent those killed one month ago in Florida, but also said its important for students to stand up for gun control because they are the ones mostly affected by school shootings.

    Outside Edmonds-Woodway High School, a few adults stood on the sidewalk to demonstrate their support for students walking out.

    ““We are here for the right to be safe in school,” said Mollie Brown, who was outside with her 2-year-old son. “They are our future and that is all that matters.”

    The night before the walkout, the Edmonds School Board unanimously passed a resolution in support of sensible gun safety legislation. During the board’s discussion Tuesday night, Board Member Diana White said it was time for action.

    “I’m encouraged by what we see from our students,” she said. “Them leading the way on this whole thing will really make a difference.”

    Students who participated in the walkout will be marked absent or tardy, unless a parent excuses the absence, district spokeswoman Debbie Joyce Jakala said.

    — Reporting by Natalie Covate, Larry Vogel, Julia Wiese and Lily Caldwell

    10 COMMENTS

    1. I am dismayed by the comment from the District’s spokeswomen that the participants in this important demonstration of the maturity of today’s young people will be met with marking them absent or tardy unless their parents provide excuses. Their action is a timely civics lesson from which we can all take heart. Someone must have made this decision and, in my opinion, it is the wrong one.




      12



      3
      • Almost any protest is free speech. So how should the schools decide which protest to allow without marking the student as tardy or absent. In this case it was left to the parents to authorize the “tardy or absence”. What if some students across all of the US want to have protest for lowering the age for drinking, pot, or driving a car. Those would be examples of free speech as well. If enough kids got parent approval would the be allowed to protest? Not sure it would be a good thing to set the schools up as the decision maker about what free speech is allowed and which is not.

        PS. I am glad the kids took a stand and hopefully they had the support of their parents.




        1



        2
        • When I was teaching, back toward the end of the Jurassic Period, we had a similar situation. We announced to the parents that the kids were free to attend the event, and simply held school, neither making “absent” or “tardy,” and the teachers who did not attend the debate held study periods for the students whose parents did not want them to attend the event. You need to keep track of the kids of course – I forget how we did that. But no one was penalized.

          Protests about other things? Maybe some judicious and responsible decision-making about whether an issue has attracted enough student involvement to be recognized. But the parents should be able to say no, if they feel that is appropriate.




          1



          0
    2. It could be a good civics lesson in how to make change.
      Demonstrations draw attention. Talking to legislators, testifying in Olympia, class discussions on the ramifications of different actions such as banning assault weapons is another part. It takes a lot of work to change laws. This is a great learning experience. There are downsides for every action and that is also a part of the learning.




      3



      3
    3. Any time 16% of any group show a commitment to a common cause it is interesting. I would have expected a larger number participating. It would be interesting to understand why 84% did not participate.




      3



      1
    4. I’m proud of our students, both locally and nationally, for speaking out on this very important issue. Common sense gun laws is an issue that clearly won’t fade and these students—as soon as they are eligible to vote—will be supporting candidates that are for comprehensive background checks for gun ownership, strict limits on the sale of semi-automatic rifles, banning of bump stocks, unifying the age for gun ownership at 21, prohibition of gun ownership for anyone convicted of domestic violence and/or has a restraining order in effect against him/her, enhanced mental health support for anyone who may be prone to violence, etc. It is encouraging that some progress is being made on this issue, but much remains to be done. Congratulations, students, for your courage in standing up for what is right!




      9



      2
    5. Congratulations to our younger generation…..they are smart enough to know gun safety reform is a must in this society…..




      4



      0

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here