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What you need to know about Wednesday’s walkout

GIANNA CABRAL, Staff Writer, Arts and Culture Editor

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On Wednesday, March 14th, Gloucester High School students are anticipated to participate in a nationwide walk out.

The walk out will take place during A-block from 10:00 – 10:17 AM in honor of the seventeen victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14th in Parkland, Florida.

“I personally believe that it’s not just a political statement that other students and I want to make,” said sophomore Danielle Denman, who plans to participate. “Not only is it protesting gun violence and the accessibility of assault rifles, it’s also about honoring those who lost their lives, GHS unifying, and students speaking out about our feelings on school safety.”

According to students, this is an important educational moment in becoming active citizens.

“I think all students should have some degree of interest in their own safety while they’re at school,” said junior Alexander Oaks, who also plans to walkout. “It is also a great opportunity to learn about civic engagement and the role that protest plays in being a contributing member of a democratic society.”

School administrators are also concerned about student’s safety.

“The school recognizes that students are living with safety concerns right now and have an understandable desire to express their views. Furthermore, safety in our schools is a deeply profound issue carrying with it the very basic concerns for physical and psychological well-being,” said Principal James Cook.

Gloucester Public Schools and the Gloucester Police Department are teaming up to ensure the safety of the students who are planning to participate.  

“We are working with students who choose to participate in a walkout on Wednesday, March 14th to maximize safety, to maximize civic education, and to minimize disruption,” said Cook.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re participating:

Students will walk out to the front of the building and gather there around the circle. Police will be present. 

Students who use the walkout to leave school grounds will “get two office detentions and parent communications” for a first offense, according to the student handbook. For a second and subsequent offenses, students will receive one day of out of school suspension.

Students who stay on school grounds and participate in the walkout will receive an unexcused absence for their A-block class unless they write a one page (or 300+ word) reflection on “What the walkout means to you.” Students must turn the reflection into the Dean’s office no later than Friday, March 16th.

Once the paper is completed and turned in, a student’s attendance will be changed to an excused absence.

Teachers have been directed to stay with students who remain in their classes.

“If all students leave a teacher’s class, the teacher may accompany them for supervisory purposes,” said Cook. “Teachers, who are on duty, are expected to stay at an assigned duty. Teachers in a preparation block do not have any supervisory responsibilities but may volunteer to supervise students in hallways and in the front of the school.”

Above all else, students want to stress that this is a peaceful protest.

“This is an act of solidarity to show that students do not support violence in schools,” said senior Caroline Enos. “While we are advocating stricter regulations to keep weapons away from those who are not equipped to handle them, we are more importantly trying to show that students have a voice and that dealing with violence should not be a partisan issue.”

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “What you need to know about Wednesday’s walkout”

  1. Cody Clifford on March 12th, 2018 11:13 pm

    I wouldn’t normally mind the walkout, but the problem is that I’m afraid people will turn it from a memorial into a political statement, one that could end up being divisive rather than unifying (i.e. banning all rifles).

  2. Katie on March 14th, 2018 11:40 am

    It IS a political statement. Saying that the federal government has forcibly ignored gun policy issues for decades as students are slaughtered is inherently political. Worrying that high schools students are going to try to ban “rifles” is a sweeping statement used to disenfranchise young people and distract the conversation.

  3. Paige Stockman on March 13th, 2018 2:07 pm

    You go GHS students and faculty! The world is listening. Thank you for raising your voices.

  4. Madison Dempsey on March 15th, 2018 11:36 am

    Can the speeches from today’s walkout be posted in the opinion section?

  5. Caroline Enos on March 15th, 2018 2:06 pm

    We can ask the students who spoke if they would like to share them. Thank you for your suggestion!

  6. Caroline Enos on March 21st, 2018 9:24 pm

    We just posted a story with the speeches made by every student during the walkout.

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