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Students Participate in Walkout Honoring Lives Lost at Parkland Shooting

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Students Participate in Walkout Honoring Lives Lost at Parkland Shooting

Students in the football stadium stands during the walkout.

Students in the football stadium stands during the walkout.

Photo Credit: Katie Redefer

Students in the football stadium stands during the walkout.

Photo Credit: Katie Redefer

Photo Credit: Katie Redefer

Students in the football stadium stands during the walkout.

Katie Redefer, Editor-In-Chief

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On February 14th at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 19 year old Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 and students and teachers. Since then, victims of the shooting and Americans alike have been calling for change. They organized marches and started the hashtag #NeverAgain, begging legislators to enact stronger gun control. The group that organized the Women’s March in January 2017 organzied a 17 minute school walk out for students across the country, in memoriam of the lives lost at MSD High School.

The Cape Henlopen School District released a letter that was be sent home to parents the week before the walk out, stating that students would be permitted to take part in the demonstration without disciplinary action if they desired to do so. Anna Ives-Michener, one of the students who helped organize the walkout said on the topic, “A few days after Jade Shomper and I heard about the national walkout to take place on the 14th we knew we wanted to participate. We went to Mrs. Miller to aks her if we would be allowed to walkout and she had already been taking steps with the administration to permit students to participate if they wanted to. So that’s how everything got started.”

On March 14th, a month after the Parkland shooting, hundreds of Cape students walked out of their classrooms to the football stadium at 10:00am sharp. They sat peacefully in the stadium, notably in the windy 34 degree weather. Some students collaborated on signs that depicted letters spelling out “Enough”. At 10:17am students stood and walked back to their classes, while people from a distance holding signs cheered and clapped.

During the student walkout no press or reporters were allowed to interview students. The press were kept in a far off part of the stadium where they could film the crowds but could not get any up close shots or interviews. Some news groups have expressed disappointment to not being allowed to report on the event. In an article published in the Cape Gazette, a writer claimed Cape was infringing on the student’s freedom of speech by not allowing them to be interviewed. The administration was responsible for making the call not to allow press to interview students and have not provided an explanation as to why at this time. Cape Henlopen School District Communications Coordinator Stephanie Kichline was asked to provide a comment on why this decision was made, but at time of publication had not responded.

Students who did participate in the walkout were mostly proud of their peers, although they wished more people had stayed silent. Senior Taylor Hazzard commented, ​“We (the cape students) did a good job of coordinating a event that represented unity among students at our school. I wish some people had been more quiet but overall it was a good experience.” Similarly, Senior Madison Sarnak said, ​“I was happy to be a part of the event remembering the 17 lives lost, although some students could’ve been more respectful.”

Many students were supportive of the walkout, but some decided not to participate. Senior Destini Winter-Kall who did not participate said, ​“I didn’t think the walkout was inclusive of all school shootings that have happened. There should have been mention of the other school shootings other than just the Parkland shooting. I did not participate for this reason.”

Overall, the Cape administration did an outstanding job at keeping the walkout safe and their support for students exercising their right to peacefully protest is admirable.

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Katie Redefer, Editor-in-Chief

Katie Redefer also participates in the Cape Henlopen Theatre Program and is an avid member of the Cape GSA. Her works have been included in multiple forms...

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Students Participate in Walkout Honoring Lives Lost at Parkland Shooting