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LAKEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL PARTICIPATES IN #ENOUGH WALKOUT IN MEMORY OF SCHOOL SHOOTING

Students at Lakewood High gather for #ENOUGH to protest gun violence.

 

By Tammye McDuff

On Wednesday, March 14th, students all over the United States left their classrooms for a National School Walkout to protest gun violence.

As the words of John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ rang out across the Lakewood High School football field, hundreds of Lakewood High School students, signs in hand, joined with kids across the nation in protest and memory of those  that were needlessly killed in the Parkland shooting.

Exactly one month after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, survivors of the massacre joined tens of thousands of students across the U.S. by walking out of school.

The National School Walkout was organized by Empower, a coalition of teen activists from all over the country. You may have actually heard of Empower before — it’s the Women’s March’s youth organization. “We believe, as youth, it is imperative we have spaces where our voices are being heard. We DON’T need adults speaking on our behalf,” Empower says.

The Lakewood Lancers event was organized by the ASB team, as one of the members stated,

“We will be held accountable for our future. In honor of the Parkland victims we organized a walkout. We recognize that safe schools must be a priority. We wanted to give everyone a safe space where they could advocate for this.”

Each Parkland victim was commemorated by the reading of their name and the ringing of the bell while TAPS echoed in the background. Two stations were located on the football field where students could write a letter to their representative or compose  heart felt letters to the victims’ families and Parkland survivors. Across the campus were little yellow sticky notes with names of students that have been killed in school shootings since the beginning of 2018.

Lakewood High School Co-Principal Mario Jimenez stated “The students actually put their heads together and wanted to do something in memory of the Parkland shooting last month and to make a statement about violence in our schools. It is important for students to understand their rights in a structured and meaningful way. The student organizers were amazing. They wanted to do something that makes an impact on the student body, knowing that they can be agents of change. We hope the best thing that can come of this event is for our students to have a better understanding and be aware of the society we are leaving them.”

It seems that this horrific circumstance has turned into a positive movement. Schools hold drills for fires, they drill for earthquakes and now schools across the nation are holding drills for lockdown situations in the case of an active shooter on campus. Moreover students are being educated and are becoming more aware if a fellow student is distraught or showing signs of potential harm to others.

One of the ASB organizers, a Lakewood High senior said, “We are here today to bring awareness of school violence and for students not to feel fearful. Our ultimate goal is to unify the school and that we speak as one voice about school safety.”

The National School Walkout is the latest protest in a string of demonstrations, along with March 24th’s March for Our Lives and April 20th’s National School Walkout, designed to highlight the prevalence of gun violence and its effects.

 

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