Students to walk out

On March 14, students across the nation will be taking part in a school walk-out to demand change in light of the most recent school shootings.

Junior Laila Stein is the official leader of this movement for GHS.

“It’s the #Enough National School Walk-Out Movement,” Stein said. “This is March 14 at 10 a.m., and we will be walking out of the main office doors, standing out there for 17 minutes to remember the 17 people who didn’t need to lose their lives that day {in the Stoneman Douglas shooting}, then returning to class. The whole point of walking out of school is to defy the rules and stand up and say, ‘We’ve got something to say.’ It is to draw attention to the fact that we know it’s enough and something needs to change. We want more than just thoughts and prayers when something like this happens. We want action, and we want a solution. This movement has no opinion on what that solution is, we just want a solution.”

Students across the country will be participating in the walk-out.

“We are doing it at Greenwood, but it’s also national too,” junior Sam Irons said. “It will happen right at 10 a.m., which is right after third period, so the bell will have rung. We won’t be in a class when we walk out, so I think that will be good.”

Students will walk-out so that their voices are heard.

“The purpose is just so the government hears our voice that we just need something more to help protect us,” Senior Connor Hollen said.

Students at GHS who participate in this movement will not be disciplined if they remain civil and return to class after the 17 minutes.

“Anyone who participates in this event in a civilized and orderly manner and does not disrupt or cause chaos will not be punished for speaking up and participating and having a voice,” Stein said. “Now if anyone who does not follow regular school rules and disrupts things, they will get punished accordingly.”

The Greenwood Police Department is aware of the movement and will be present.

“The people who will go out there and laugh and giggle will defeat the whole purpose of the sentiment of walking out,” Officer Randy Eck said. “Those are the people that just want to get out of class, and it’s tragic that they want to take advantage of this tragic situation just to get out of class for a few minutes. But if they do it right, hold a moment of silence, and talk about how that happened and what you guys can all do to make it better, then it might just be worth it. The biggest thing you guys can do is just be smart, let us know if something is going on.”

The police advise students to be cautious, safe and smart during the walk-out.

“The safest place for students to be is inside of the school,” Officer Eck said. “When you announce that there is going to be a walk-out, it increases the potential danger for everyone. I understand the kids want to come together and show some kind of support. We are aware of it, and there will be some officer presence around, but I would ask everyone that they try to make it a short incident, and understand that your safety is our biggest goal. If you want to demonstrate for a short time, do it in a single location and try to get back in the building as soon as possible.”

A second national march is scheduled on April 20; however, there is no leader at GHS for this movement, and it is advised that students not participate in the April walk-out.

“We are not participating in the one is April because it is a hazard to our safety because we would be walking out and not returning to school, and that is a major safety issue,” Stein said. “April 20 is also ISTEP testing. If students taking ISTEP were to just leave, there’s not that many ISTEP test make-up days that they could make it up.”

This movement is all student-run and student-led; the administration has no affiliation with the walk-out.

“This event is not at all affiliated with or run by the school system; they have no part in this at all,” Stein said. “This is an all student led Grassroots movement. That means we cannot put anything up on the walls about it, we cannot make any announcements about it, we can’t really hand out mass things about it, we can’t talk in class about it and we can’t take away instructional time. So there’s a lot of fine lines we can’t cross, but the one thing we can do is talk about it and that’s something we should really use to our benefit.”

Stein hopes to spread the word to as many as possible; she created a Twitter account, WalkOutGHS, to spread the word.

“My goal is to have more than just me standing outside when March 14 comes around,” Stein said. “I think if we have a decent amount of people, if we have some outside people like news reporters and people like that coming, I think we can really show our solidarity as a community and as a school and the common goal of we want a solution, and not just silence. Get people talking. Make this an annoying thing that people don’t shut up about.”

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