Victims of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida are inspiring students all over the country to take a stand to make their schools a safer place. Some of those students reside here at Woodland.
Class of 2021 Senator Emma Flaherty brought the idea of the walkout to Woodland Regional Student Government. Student Government planned a Student Walkout on March 14th at 10:00am in the courtyard. At 9:55am, students who participated in this peaceful protest were able to leave the classes that they were in to meet in the courtyard for 10:00am. It lasted for 17 minutes, one minute for each of the lives lost in Parkland on February 14th.
The students who protested showed their support for the #ENOUGH movement to show they are not okay with the way school safety is today. The objective of this walkout was to get Congress to realize that students should not have to be afraid to go to school. Letter templates will be sent out to students who would like to reach out to their legislators about the changes the students would like to be seen being made.
“I think that people are just truly inspired by their peers from Florida and they want to voice their opinions and take a stand because this is an issue that means a lot to them,” said Flaherty. “People are going to want to do something about it.”
Flaherty hopes that people have been impacted by the walkout and voice their opinions through the letters to their legislators to take action on the situation.
Student Body President, Anna Witkowski, agrees with the goal to show how students feel that today’s climate is unacceptable and that something needs to be done to change that
“I hope that the walkout empowers our students and lets them feel heard and feel like they have an important voice,” shared Witkowski. “On a larger scale I hope we can contribute to having Congress see all these young people stand our ground.”
Unlike other schools, Administration was supportive of the students peacefully protesting. Principal Kurt Ogren believes that the students using their voices on something that they do not believe is right is a good thing.
“Other schools are trying to shut the walkouts down and even saying that they will suspend students for protesting,” said Ogren. “We are not doing that.”
The school day was not altered to accommodate the walkout. However, there were accommodations made to ensure the safety of the students who protested for the seventeen minutes; Ogren worked in conjunction with the state and local police.
Yet, students who were at Woodland were not the only people who walked out. Woodland journalism students who were on a field trip to Columbia University in New York walked out. They stood on thelibrary steps and others soon joined in.
“It was so inspiring to see random strangers join you in a cause you both care about. It just made you feel powerful to see others come together to make a change,” Samantha Erickson explained. “People started coming out with posters and it felt good to feel like you are making a difference.”
Witkowski along with Student Government asked for anyone who participated to wear orange on March 14th in honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I want it to be a time where we can have some reflection on what happened in Parkland to help us heal emotionally.”