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La Salle Students Plan Walkout in Response to Parkland Shooting

Kierra Young, Assistant Editor

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After the tragic school shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida, students across the nation have planned a walkout for next Wednesday, March 14th. At La Salle, student leaders have taken action and convinced the administration to allow an event at the school.

This group of students at La Salle is following the nationwide plan to walk out for 17 minutes at 10 a.m., with each minute representing one of the lives lost. The walkout acts as a remembrance for these lost lives and also serves as a call for Congress to take action to prevent mass shootings in schools. However, many schools across the country have had negative responses, saying the event is disruptive and even threatening to suspend students who participate.

This is not the case at La Salle, according to the Vice Principal of Student Life, Mr. Devine. While the administration is taking a neutral stance regarding next week’s walkout, students will not be punished for participating as long as they are respectful in their actions.

Student leaders Isadora Colpo, Amira Tripp Folsom, Grant Starr, and Maren Sheahan approached the school administration to plan La Salle’s walkout.

“I was inspired after seeing the students of Parkland speak so passionately and eloquently about what they believe to be one of the most dire issues facing our generation,” Sheahan said. “They are giving a voice to the issue and refusing to remain its victims. To face it head on and speak for not only those that their community lost, but for all students, is very brave.”

The administration agreed to allow the walkout. “We want to give students a place where they can make their voices heard,” Mr. Devine said.

Several students have said they are tired of the inaction that Congress has had related to gun control.

“Our government has ignored the voices of students for far too long on the subject of gun control, and I want a chance to speak out,” Colpo said. “I would like this walkout to cement the reminder that 17 lives have been ended, that 17 people walked out to their normal lives on February 14th and did not come home. And this is not an isolated event.”

Colpo wants involved students to remember that this is a peaceful event.

“I don’t want students to be violently angry, but [I want them] to recognize this injustice of 17 lost lives in addition to hundreds of others and to realize that, at this point, we’re the ones who are going to have to do something about it,” she continued.

The students participating in the walkout will gather in the courtyard near the cafeteria due to safety concerns. In a letter recently sent out to parents, Mr. Kuffner explained the administration’s involvement in the walkout.

“We plan to not only make a safe space available for this on our campus, but to help guide our young leaders towards raising their voice to deliver a message of peace, hope, solidarity and love,” Mr. Kuffner wrote.

According to the student leaders, the walkout is not meant to cause division or separate people. “The purpose of this walkout is to express the need for safety in schools and public spaces and to remember the lives lost in the Parkland, Florida shooting,” Tripp Folsom said.

Along with this, the leaders want the walkout to remind people of the tragedy and help them remember that they can have an effect by speaking up.

“I hope to start a conversation that we need to have,” Starr said. “A lot of times what happens is that these horrible mass shootings occur, we all are sad and say platitudes and propose half-hearted measures, and then a new story dominates the news cycle and we forget about it.”

This sentiment is shared across the nation: the planned walkout is the first of two nationwide events in response to the Florida shooting, with the “March For Our Lives” planned for Saturday, March 24th.

“I want to start a conversation that will last past this news cycle, [past] this moment, and reverberate through our community. We have to have an honest, real conversation about the state of gun violence and safety in our country, and what we can concretely do to change that state,” Starr said.

Image used with permission.

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “La Salle Students Plan Walkout in Response to Parkland Shooting”

  1. Nicole Khoury on March 7th, 2018 6:54 pm

    Can’t wait to participate. This sign of action all across the nation shows that teens can change and make an impact in our world today. We are the future!

  2. Aylin Begines on March 7th, 2018 7:08 pm

    I completely agree with how every month or every other month there is a new news story upon a school shooting, and families that have lost their child are forgotten about. I can’t wait for this event because it is a small way of saying “we are here for you” to the 17 families and to be able to take a stand against school shootings. 17 innocent lives are now resting in peace after an act of hate or an act of not having someone care for you is influenced. Those 17 lives were removed from families on a day that was suppose to be about love, but instead turned into the opposite for these families and I feel that all they need right now is someone to share just that: love.

  3. Paul Dreisbach on March 9th, 2018 8:28 am

    Well put, Aylin. Thanks for being a good human being.

  4. Gili on March 7th, 2018 10:22 pm

    I am happy that La Salle has allowed for students to walk out and proclaim to the world that the school shootings are wrong. I can’t wait to participate and not worry about any punishments. I hope that we can make a change and show that our voices are important too.

  5. Maren Sheahan on March 8th, 2018 10:29 am

    Seeing people my age mourning the death of their friends made this all very real to me, and the impression it left was very personal. I could easily become a victim or a mourner. The last thing we want is for this walkout to pit people against each other, and our goal is for the La Salle community to come together to mourn the loss of fellow students. Most of all, I’m hoping that this walkout will make everyone aware of the fact that even though we are just a small high school in Milwaukie, we are completely susceptible to a shooting. I used to always hear about tragedies on the news and think “wow, that’s sad. Good thing that won’t ever happen here!” The reality is that it could happen here and we should do whatever we can to protect ourselves and one another. As future voters, it is important for us to take steps to reduce school violence now, so that our children don’t live in the same fear that we do. I don’t want the momentum of this issue to slow down, and I don’t want America to accept the carnage that guns in schools bring.

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La Salle Students Plan Walkout in Response to Parkland Shooting