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Organized walkout rubs some students the wrong way

Students+participated+in+the+organized+school+walkout+on+March+14%2C+but+not+all+were+happy+with+the+direction+of+the+movement.
Students participated in the organized school walkout on March 14, but not all were happy with the direction of the movement.

Students participated in the organized school walkout on March 14, but not all were happy with the direction of the movement.

Brandie Ray

Brandie Ray

Students participated in the organized school walkout on March 14, but not all were happy with the direction of the movement.

Riley Miller, Staff Writer

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The movement began as a world-wide walk-out, as a protest against gun violence.

In the aftermath of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school on February 14, a group of students from the Florida school decided to take action.  They attempted to change guns laws and organize  nation-wide school walk-outs as their first attempts of spreading awareness.

One part of the protest included nation-wide school walkouts scheduled for March 14, with students leaving class and school in protest of gun violence and to recognize the 17 students who died a month earlier.

Yet, school districts in Pennsylvania and across the country changed the protest to a remembrance event for students and families affected by the shootings.

School districts were forced to act proactively because of the safety of the students. This didn’t please all students at Bellwood-Antis high.

While the demonstration became an organized school-wide movement recognizing the students who died in the Stoneman Douglas shooting, there was no mention of gun violence.

“There were many different movements. We thought we would get more participation if it was neither pro nor anti-gun, but more about peace and safety,” stated Bellwood-Antis high school principal Mr. Richard Schreier.

However, a segment of students at B-A did not like the shift in emphasis.

“Our principal and student officials came up with the idea to do it differently.  They decided to not make it about guns because the majority of our elected officials are pro-gun,” said freshman Hunter Gregg.  “We were also told the walk-out was to promote diversity, yet the (class) officers are (for the most part) white and conservative.  Only the voices our principal wanted the community to hear were heard because he wants his school to look like no one is upset.  By attempting to promote diversity they brought us to conformity.”

Class officers say the “Walk Out” event was organized to honor those who lost their lives during the Florida school shooting, and to eliminate the political drama that has surrounded the shooting at Stoneman Douglas.

“Our student leaders didn’t want politics involved. We wanted the student body to come together, despite political beliefs, to show love and support,” said freshman Vice-President Caroline Nagle.  “We wanted something peaceful, yet something effective to show that we need more student safety and school violence needs to stop.  We wanted everyone to know that they’re loved and no one is unappreciated.”

During the event, which was held in the auditorium, many students were confused about the reason for gathering.  While many people believed it was an anti-gun or pro-gun protest, it was only supposed to be a remembrance event.

“Students with opposing views almost never get a say in our community, and that’s why the purpose of the walk out was not what it was supposed to be.  Instead of listening to others students’ views and taking in different opinions, only one voice was listened to, and actually valued,” Riley Endress, a Bellwood freshman, stated.

For those who helped organize the event, the intention at B-A was never to push an agenda.

“The purpose was to support the families of the lives lost and to promote school safety without politics into our movement,” says Caroline Nagle.

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Organized walkout rubs some students the wrong way