National School Walkouts
Students in La Porte High School participated in the nationwide walkout on March 14th. The walkout was mainly to remember the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Shooting in Parkland, Florida, but was also a protest against the lack of attention paid to school safety.
The walkout lasted 17 minutes; one minute for each victim. Over 70 students stood in silence at the flagpole outside of the school while one student read out the names. One the main students who led the protest was junior Delaney Bluhm.
“I’ve always considered myself an activist, and I’ve always been passionate about public safety. Thus, when the opportunity presented itself to protest something I am passionate about, I knew I had to jump on it,” Bluhm said.
Bluhm, Alexia Cook, Becca Eyrick, Jillian Ross, and Parker Bockhorst went to Mr. Tonagel to find a safe and appropriate way to participate in the Walkouts without getting in trouble.
“The meetings went really well. The first meeting was one where we explained what the walkouts were, when they were, and our plans for both walkouts. The second meeting was a follow up, and Mr. Tonagel had talked about other options than a walkout, as his main goal is our safety,” Bluhm said.
Shortly after, Tonagel posted an open letter to Skyward for all students and parents to see. As long as students followed the attendance policy and had their parents call in for the 17 minutes, they would not be punished. It was also announced a half an hour before the actual protest.
“I think that how Mr. Tonagel arranged the walk-out was great. It was done in a very safe way, and I truly appreciate how Mr. Tonagel cared about our safety. I think that even though it wasn’t a true “walk-out” because we had to have our parents call us out of class, I think it was done in a very safe way,” Breanna Dove, junior, said.
The walkouts were a great example of young people taking charge and finally delving into politics. Most are tired of being scared of going to school worried they may not make it out.
“I hope that actual change comes from these protests because it is scary growing up in a world where I fear letting my sister go to school by herself without me. I fear not knowing what may happen at my own school, and I shouldn’t have to. I want to see a world where being safe and protecting our younger generations is a top priority. We all have a right to live our lives to their full potential,” Dove said.
The walkouts are just the beginning. On March 24th, students will ‘March for Their Lives’ in most large cities across the United States, and possibly in other countries as well. Young people are determined to make a change and will do so regardless of what it takes.