GHS students speak up and walk out against school gun violence


Karlee Hynes

Senior Jessyca Muniz holds a sign at Thursday’s walkout


GHS students walked out of their classes today to make a statement about gun violence and school safety.

Schools from across the nation walked out yesterday on March 14th in act of unified protest. While the walkout was delayed a day by Tuesday’s storm, GHS students still showed their support.

An estimated 250-300 students gathered in the front circle, while a group of student organizers faced the crowd.

“I was definitely a little nervous,” said junior Alexander Oaks, who spoke at the walkout. “I wasn’t expecting as many students. I was expecting about 150 students, but I saw about double that.”

Along with Oaks, Rebecca Dowd, Jemima Grow, Maria Kotob, Caroline Enos, and Caleb Perry also spoke at the event. Students expressed what they wanted to change, gave credit to administration, and paid respects to those who lost their lives in the Parkland shooting.

“Over and over again, this country has stood by as the number of children killed by school shootings grows,” said Dowd to the crowd. “This country has watched as thousands of children are slaughtered, children whose only mistake was to go to school that morning. How has it become that going to school is a mistake?”

Those who spoke found the topic to be very important to them, and wanted to empower other students to make a stand.

“For me, I spoke personally because I feel so strongly that it is important for students to voice their own opinions,” said Oaks.

The speakers finished off the protest with two moments of silence; one for the victims of the Parkland shooting, and another for all other past and future lives lost to school gun violence.

The leadership of those who organized and spoke during the walkout greatly impressed GHS Principal James Cook and other members of the administration.

“I am extremely proud of the Gloucester High community for the way that everyone conducted themselves during the walkout,” said Cook. “I am looking forward to reading the reflections from the students who participated in the walkout.”

Unfortunately, there were several scares revolving around and affecting the protest. A possible threat to the walkout was made on social media earlier this week.

“Gloucester High School administrators in collaboration with the Gloucester Police Department have diligently and directly followed up on the reports we have received,” wrote Superintendent Richard Safier in an email to parents and guardians on Tuesday. “I am confident that the actions we have taken and will continue to take will make a safe environment for students.”

On Thursday morning- the morning of the walkout- an object that was thought to be a bullet was found on the first floor of the school bathroom. It was later identified by police as NOT a bullet.

Safier sent out a message to parents and guardians containing all public information on the issue.

“The police have examined the object and the object is NOT a bullet,” said Safier in an email sent out to parents and guardians today. “It does appear to be composed of lead, but poses no risk.”

Administration reassured students that it was not a bullet in an announcement shortly before the students participating in the walkout left class. But after other threats regarding the walkout spread across the school, an announcement like this scared many students from walking out.

“It made me feel scared because of all of the recent allegations thrown around regarding the current events,” said senior Baylee Kirk.

The peaceful protest by GHS students speaking out about gun violence and school safety went on with no disruptions. Despite the threats and scares circulating GHS, students came together and showed that they wanted change for their school and their community.

“All-in-all this event was conducted respectfully and in an very orderly fashion, a testament to our students,” said Safier.