The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Walkout Planned for April 20

The LHS Walkout Twitter account which was used to plan the April 20 walkout.

The LHS Walkout Twitter account which was used to plan the April 20 walkout.

Junior Katy Thomas scrolls through her Twitter feed lazily when she sees an interesting post. She stops to read and immediately DMs the account to ask about it. A few quick messages and she has decided. She will give a speech at the student walkout April 20.

“The fact is something has to change,” Thomas said. “I don’t think there’s any other group to do it than our generation.”

Across the nation, students have begun to organize to fight for better gun control. But because many of them are not old enough they cannot all participate in change by voting. Instead, they join school walkouts to keep the spotlight on the issue of gun control. Students plan to walk out at 10 a.m. on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting in which 13 people lost their lives. Senior Michael King will join the protest because he believes in the importance of addressing gun violence as soon as possible.

“This is for people who aren’t aware of gun violence in America,” King said. “Hopefully, this opens their eyes that this is a big problem.”

Beginning with 17 minutes of silent protest in honor of Parkland victims and ending with 13 minutes of student speeches, the event will give students an opportunity to speak out for their beliefs.

“Whether or not you’re allowed to have a hand in actually, physically voting and making democratic decisions, you still have a voice and you still need to be heard,” Thomas said. “We can’t let ourselves be silenced.”

However, not all students believe walking out is the correct way to begin change. Sophomore Jonathan Ake feels the walkouts end up hurting students as the prospect of finals loom closer each day.

“Leaving class isn’t the way,” Ake said. “Walkouts are good for kids to feel like they’re being heard, but they miss valuable class time.”

Teachers will mark students absent for leaving class, but the administration will not take further actions against students who peaceably participate in the event. Dr. Shelly Butler said FNA (legal) district policy stops MISD staff from taking action against the walkout and other peaceable forms of free speech.

“The decision to walk out is a personal decision. I would just ask students to also consider other ways that they could honor the students who lost their lives due to gun violence at school,” Dr. Butler said. “Be informed and make the right decision for you.”

As the talks about gun violence continue and students move closer to an age where they can vote to make a difference, walkouts have become popular at high schools across America.

“If you don’t feel this is the decision for you, you’re not forced to walk out,” Thomas said, “but don’t not stick up for what you believe in if you truly support gun control. In 10 or 20 years, you don’t want to regret not sticking up for what you believed in.”

UPDATE

MISD Communications Department emailed students and parents the following email on April 10:

Dear Parents/Guardians:

We are aware that some Mansfield ISD students are planning to participate in an organized walkout on Friday, April 20 to protest gun violence.

Mansfield ISD wholeheartedly supports freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully. We encourage our students to get involved in the legislative process in order to become productive citizens.

Nevertheless, we want all parents and students to know that not being present in class will result in an unexcused absence and the necessary consequences outlined in the district’s student handbook. A student’s attendance is crucial to learning, and the unauthorized dismissal of students is a safety issue.

We believe that students have the right to be heard, and we encourage you to speak with your child about the scheduled walkout.
Sincerely,

Dr. Jim Vaszauskas
Superintendent of Schools

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “Walkout Planned for April 20”

  1. Cheryl on April 5th, 2018 5:58 pm

    Will these students be bullied if they don’t walk out? That’s my concern. I teach my kids guns don’t kill people it’s the mentality Ill people that kill people. So until that’s address nothing and no one will be safe. Drug users still get drugs even though it’s illegal. 🤔

    [Reply]

  2. Brittney on April 5th, 2018 10:15 pm

    It’s this type of liberal brainwashing that’s wrong in the world. In a drunk driving accident, you blame the driver. In a bombing, you blame the bomber. But in a school shooting, you blame the gun? Why not instead of teaching kids that if something is not to their liking they can protest to have things go their way, you teach kids to take responsibility for their actions and stop being belligerent towards their peers.

    [Reply]

    Josh Reply:

    Our country is the way it is now because people protested and called for change when things “weren’t going their way”. I would consider children being murdered at school much more than “not going their way”, it’s endangering their lives in an environment where they are supposed to feel safe, and where they have no say in being able to make that better.

    It’s also ignorant to infer that these children are being murdered as a result of their own actions. Not all shootings are a result of bullying. YouTube HQ was shot-up 3 days ago by a 38-year-old woman who had issues their censorship policy, an elementary school was massacred by a grown man in 2012.

    There’s a problem, and these children, legally not allowed to vote and make a difference, are trying to make a change to that problem so they can save their lives. Let them speak.

    [Reply]

    Trevor Byington Reply:

    “Liberal Brainwashing.” People with views more liberal than yours are not brainwashed. No one is blaming the guns themselves, the argument is that the people who do the shootings have too easy access to the guns. I don’t see a problem with gums being harder to obtain. If you’re someone who isn’t patient enough to wait for a gun, you DO NOT DESERVE the gun. No one needs 2-day shipping on a firearm. Broader, more strict background checks are a good thing and I don’t know how any sane person can argue otherwise. Maybe stop assuming that everyone who wants gun control is demanding that guns be taken away and you’ll feel less persecuted.

    [Reply]

    Trevor Byington Reply:

    Also, that’s a really nice bit of victim blaming there at the end of your comment. Teach kids to take responsibility for their actions? Which kids? The ones who perform the shootings, or the ones that are shot? If you’re a parent, I hope your children grow up to be a better, more understanding person than you are, even if they share similar views.

    [Reply]

  3. Danielle on April 6th, 2018 8:40 am

    Brittany,
    The issue with your statement is, in drinking and driving accidents the fault is that someone drank and then illegally drove, in a bombing the fault is on someone who illegally made a bomb… so are you saying guns should be illegal as well? Blaming it on the peers is nothing more than victim shaming. And as for drugs, yes people are still going to get guns whether or not they are legal, but statistically showing when something such as alcohol or drugs are illegal the deaths of using such go down.
    Last thing, if you don’t like the walkouts then fine you don’t have too.. but these kids are being more productive than just being negative with comments. They have an issue and aren’t afraid to get something done and that scares people.

    [Reply]

  4. Lori on April 6th, 2018 1:17 pm

    I understand you want to make a difference. This is actually putting you in danger. If someone wanted to do a mass shooting you are now giving them the perfect opportunity to do one. Also people kill people. You can obtain guns so easily and I’m not talking the legal way either. My heart hurts for anyone who has been injured or killed by a gun. I feel horrible for the families. A lot of them had something mentally not right. The sad truth is it is very hard to get mental help. There are waiting list upon list. Just recently another mental health facility shut there doors in the DFW area. It left hundreds searching for help. If change is needed then let’s address all of the issues. Let’s change the laws on mental health. Let’s make it easier for people to seek help. Instead of a walk out do a walk up. Not just on one day but everyday. Be the change you want to see in this world.

    [Reply]

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