Walk out or walk up


Carla Balvaneda, Editor

After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting on February 14, 2018, where 17 were killed, much debate has risen in regard to preventing mass shootings. While some favor arming teachers, many, including the Douglas teen survivors, are calling for gun reform.

In order to make their voices heard, many in favor of reform have organized nationwide protests, including school walkouts.

A nationwide school walkout, led by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group, is set to take place on March 14, 2018, exactly one month after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, at 10 am across every time zone.

According to the EMPOWER group’s site, this march is said to “demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship,” and many will also use this day to honor the victims.

In response to the event, Ontario High School will be taking their own approach. The ASB-run @2018_ohs Twitter account posted “Walk UP on March 14th…Make a difference in someone’s life. Even though it can go unseen, a small act can go a long way. Make change by BEING the change.”

Along with this, the account tweeted an image encouraging students to walk up and be kind to those who sit alone at lunch, who sit quietly in the corner of the room, and who cause disturbances in class in order to spread positivity. Students are also encouraged to walk up to teachers and thank them.

Ultimately, on March 14, OHS students are being challenged to find 14 students and 3 adults, representing the 17 who were killed, and to say something nice to them.

Many students oppose walkouts because they do not see the purpose. Some schools’ students can walk to a congressional office or to a place where legal action can actually take place, but if students walk out at Ontario, some claim there is nowhere significant to go.

Another reason students may oppose walkouts is because, if this fight is for reform, then the battle is not against one’s own school, but rather elected officials. Some claim that since mass shootings also impact adults on campus; including teachers, administrators, and other staff members; walkouts create tension and struggles within a campus when all should be unified and working to prevent mass shootings, especially on school grounds.

Despite some positive feedback of this event, not everyone seems satisfied.

“The walk up is an excuse to keep us in school and keep us silent and be the good ‘students’ we are, but the majority of students that will graduate [this upcoming May 2018] will have voting power and our freedom to express our opinion to those who are supposed to represent us is our fundamental right,” argues senior Hope Blackwell.

Those that agree with Blackwell believe that the walkout is more than a day to skip classes, but rather the time to take action about something that is greater than simply being kind. They also believe that the way you treat others should be continuous, rather than something done sporadically to say you have done a good deed. Some of these students also claim that such events can be portrayed as a way to prevent chaos and make students feel as if they are partaking in an important service when in reality action is taking place elsewhere.

These students see a walkout as an opportunity to send a message that the fight for reform is nationwide, as many acknowledge that any school can be a target, and students need a safe and healthy way to release their emotions and speak their minds.

Ontario High School also plans to present a video during the scheduled walkout time that honors the victims in Florida, encourages discussions about school safety, and provides a platform for students to voice their concerns.