On Wednesday, March 14th, students and faculty all over the country participated in a nationwide school walkout meant to honor the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and to protest gun violence. The walkout took place at 10 a.m. local time and lasted 17 minutes, a minute for each of the 17 Parkland victims.
Millions of students and staff across the country participated in the walkout, many of whom disobeyed authorities to participate. An article featured in The New York Times writes, “… in many more cities and towns, students left school by the hundreds and the thousands at 10 a.m., sometimes in defiance of school authorities…” Close to home in Sayreville, New Jersey, about a dozen students at Sayreville War Memorial High School walked out on Wednesday, despite threats of suspension from administrators. These students were suspended for the day and otherwise penalized, but the headstrong students caught the public’s attention and received recognition from thousands of supporters. One student, Rosa Rodriguez, spoke about the support from the public for her act of protest. USA Today writes, “Rodriguez’s story touched many people and resulted in a number of her supporters pitching in to buy the student more than $1,000 worth of roses, which were delivered to the school on Friday…” Rosa Rodriguez’s act of courage earned her rightfully deserved attention and hopefully encouraged Sayreville War Memorial High School to let their students speak out for what they believe in rather than punish them.
Proudly, IHA was one of the many schools that participated in the walkout. Students returned to homeroom at 9:45 a.m. to prepare for the walkout. Bracelets and slips of paper with a designated prayer printed on them were handed out to students. During the actual walkout, each of the 17 victims’ names were read and followed by lighting a candle in their honor, and students and administration said a prayer in unison. Morgan Honor’18 made a speech about gun violence following the candle lightings and prayer. Her well-written, inspiring, and passionate speech sparked fire and hope ash she spoke respectfully and intelligently about gun violence. The walkout was about both honoring the Parkland victims and empowering the younger generation to team up, protest, and speak their minds. This walkout sparked hope and ambition in many people all over the United States. Young voices that have finally been heard are making a change. Not only that, but the walkout was a beautiful message of unity as we come together as a country in this dark time. The younger generation, including our students here at IHA, have spoke out against the violence and together are fighting for the safety and protection of our students.
By: Arden Grossman’20, Staff Writer