Students walk out against gun violence

Students participate in national protest, show solidarity with Parkland tragedy

By Anahita Hurt, Online Co-Editor

Students on Wednesday had two walk outs, at 10am and 11am, to protest gun violence in school.

The 10 a.m. walk out coincided with a similar walk out at Free State High School. The 11 a.m. walk out was part of a nationwide walk out.

Each time, students left class for 17 minutes, to represent the 17 lives lost in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

“There has been a walk out earlier [Wednesday] morning at 10 and I swung by, and I noticed it was a group of people just standing outside of the building for 17 minutes, just kind of talking and laughing and walking back and forth, and eventually they just ended up going inside because they were cold,” sophomore Elliot Bradley said. “I just kind of thought to myself, I said, ‘Wow there aren’t that many people here and none of them are doing anything to recognize this. I mean, if someone drove b,y they would see that it’s just a group of people standing outside.’ So I guess I felt like if you’re going to stand outside, if you’re going to walk out of your classroom and say ‘I’m taking a minute to recognize these people,’ you should do it right.”

At the 11 am walk out, Bradley took charge of the event. Bradley named one of the deceased every minute and told those gathered about who they were.

“I walked out because this is an issue I feel really strongly about,” Bradley said. “The safety of your friends and your teachers, this is a place we’re required to be every day and making it a safe place for everyone is really important to me.”

For Bradley, the walkout represented recognition for what happened and for the lives that were lost. It showed, for him, that students are ready to make change, proving that the lives of those students and teachers were not lost in vain.

“I personally would like to see stricter rules regarding gun law in general,” Bradley said. “I mean, at this point, you know, when you turn 18, you can go out and buy a semi automatic weapon and nobody says anything about it.”

Art teacher Deena Amont participated in the 11am walk out. She helped to remind students why they were there.

“I chose to walk out in solidarity with the people in Florida and also the people all over the country that are trying to do something about gun violence everywhere and especially in schools,” Amont said.  “It represented our small community of Lawrence High our effort to take a stand against gun violence especially in schools.”

Amont said the issues behind school shootings need to be resolved by authorities more powerful than school administrations.

“This is a huge problem, it’s beyond that of not just our administration, it’s not just a school problem, it’s much larger than that,” Amont said. “I am not an expert in gun control, and I’m not even exactly sure where I stand on that issue, in terms of gun control, but we just have to do something to prevent something like this from happening ever again.”

Paislea Murphy, a junior, participated in the 11 a.m. walk out, and helped create posters which later sat in the rotunda.

“I chose to do this, and I got a whole bunch of people to come … one of the reasons is that the side doors are constantly unlocked and the people that are in the office are the only people that are really secured and have the password that needs to get in,” Murphy said. “Everybody in the annex, and all of those people, we’re all unsafe. And there’s been a lot of shootings lately in everywhere, really, and I just feel like this is something we can do. I feel like we should stay out here a little bit longer than 17 minutes because that is showing them that we’re serious.”

Murphy wants to feel safer at school. She hopes the administration will make the school more secure, possibly by creating a code for the unsecured entrances and locking them during class.

“It represents all of us – the people of us here at LHS – coming together and supporting each other and knowing that we’ll protect each other and are here for each other,” senior Ally Rood, who participated in the 11 a.m. walkout, said.

Rood feels that it should not have taken this many shootings in recent years to get people to take action.

“I want this hopefully to be publicized and for our lawmakers to see this, especially in Kansas and I want them to know that we think this is important, and that this is important, and that we’re willing to fight for it,” Rood said.