March 14th School Walkout

This past Wednesday high school students across United States organized and participated in a coordinated walkout. This walkout was sparked by the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida where seventeen students/ faculty members were shot and killed. The walkout comes one month after the shooting and lasted for 17 minutes. Each minute for each individual who was killed. Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts was one of the schools that participated in the walkout.


The students promptly exited the high school at 10am initially following behind the resource officers. The officers then parted ways as the rest of the students passed them to head towards the Paseo front courtyard. Students and faculty surrounded the large Paseo sign and one of the student organizers centered himself to give a speech.

Excerpts annotated from audio recording.

“…Congress, the president, those in power refuse thus far to stop listening to lobbyists to stop listening to the NRA to push for looser gun regulation. It is legal for me in America to buy a military grade hardware, assault rifle before I am able to get a drink. 21 in Missouri when I’m able to buy a cigarette.

This makes almost no sense. It is inexcusable for anyone to say that this is not the time to talk about gun control. People say “we are using a tragedy to fuel a liberal agenda” if we don’t use this tragedy to find some good in the world, what was the point of it… To get guns off our streets and out of our schools, our schools should not be a war zone. It should a place to come together and learn.. And respectfully. So in respect we have come together to get out of school and protest gun violence. We are not here to get out of class, we are here to show that we refuse to be in a place where they allow anybody to take our lives. 

This is our statement.”

ASL Interpreter signs “Machine Gun”

A Spanish teacher could be heard explaining the speech to some latinx students.

 

GaJi- Why do you think a walkout is important?

Antonio (Student)-

“People need to see that just because we are students, we’re not going to let what’s been going on keep going on. People always say that it’s our job to fix the wrongs of the last generation and we really are showing that we’re trying to take that to heart. That we’re not going to let past mistakes keep us from future successes and this is one of our first big successes. As paseo, this was one of the bigger events…”

GJ- How did the teachers feel, were they supportive?

A- “A lot of them were, some were we met with a little resistance, not because of their views politically, but because it’s a school day and all that and of course they’re going to be weary of this but a lot of them were really really really supportive and open to our views.”

Some of the Student Organizers of the walk-out

Eliza-

“We actually did it in two hours yesterday, because we found out that nobody else, no other students had organized it and we were like Oh No we have to do this like right now, and so, we just got together, wrote a paper, and then we went classroom to classroom passed it out to every student, explained it and then that was that. Just gotta get the word out It’s crazy. We’re making history you know?”

Two minutes of silence followed the speech

The principle of Paseo, Debra Powell confirmed that the walk-out was completely student organized.

The students hope to walk-out and organize a march on April 20th the 19th anniversary of Columbine.



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