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Students walk out in protest, respect for lives lost

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Students walk out in protest, respect for lives lost

Spiro Kass, Editor-in-Chief

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At 10 a.m. sharp on March 14, hundreds of LT NC and SC students respectfully exited their third period classrooms and walked outside of each campus in unity to participate in the National School Walkout. The demonstration was made to support student safety and honor those who have died from gun violence, especially the 17 from Parkland, Florida, Pilar Valdes ‘19, Student Council Vice President and co-organizer of the walkout, said.

“The lives of the students who went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were forever changed because of a tragedy that should never have been able to happen,” Valdes announced to the walkout participants. “Today, we stand so a change can be made to prevent such a tragedy.”

As NC students gathered outside for the demonstration, a large circle formed around the walkout organizers outside of the Vaughn building, where Valdes and Amanda Kural ‘19 spoke words of encouragement to their classmates.

“Although I have strong opinions of my own, I am not here today to tell you what to believe,” Kural said. “Instead, I am here to encourage you to do everything in your power to ensure that this never happens again. We need to take this emotion, this fear and pain, and channel it into a unified voice, a voice that is shouting: enough is enough.”

In addition to the speeches, several other students joined the organizers in honoring the 17 students who died in the fatal school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School exactly one month ago, on Feb. 14. As the name of each victim was announced, a balloon was released to symbolize the life that was lost. Once the balloon release concluded, the walkout organizers initiated five minutes of silence to continue to memorialize the deaths of the Parkland Massacre.

Throughout the walkout, students said they felt empowered by the words shared and actions made by the organizers, including participant Maddie Dixon ‘18.

“I feel like the youth is the future of this country and we should protect ourselves,” Dixon said. “It’s not about being mean to each other or posing my ideas on somebody else’s, but just creating a society that I’m proud to live in.”

On the contrary, certain students refrained from participating in the walkout due to concerns over disrespect and mishandling of the situation.

“It wasn’t that I was against it,” Kate Beumer ‘18 said. “I was just nervous after the first walkout we had about a month ago that it was going to be unorganized.”

Additionally, supporting the students across Brainard Avenue was a group of local adults, who were chanting “don’t forget to vote” as the students re-entered the building after the walkout. Many of the adults were there to witness what they believed was truly inspiring, an adult supporter said.

“It makes me hopeful,” another adult supporter told the LION. “I kind of lost hope in this whole debate, and especially after Sandy Hook, I just thought nothing is going to change people’s minds. So finally, I feel like I have hope.”

According to the LTHS website, approximately 300 students walked out at NC and as many as 900 students walked out at SC. Whether it was at NC or SC, the message was clear, proclaiming that there are solutions to these tragedies–it just takes proactivism.

“Today, we stand for hope,” Valdes said to the NC crowd. “We stand for kindness. We stand for love. Never forget that. Love can bring us together and help us heal after a tragedy. Love can prevent a tragedy. Remember the unifying force that is love. It is a secret weapon.”

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Spiro Kass, Editor-in-Chief

Hi my name is Spiro (pronounced sp-ee-ro, NOT sp-y-ro), and I am the Editor-in-chief of the LION Newspaper. I’m extremely glad to have an amazing staff...

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Students walk out in protest, respect for lives lost