Why we should walkout


Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Survivors of Parkland High School shooting mourn the loss of their classmates.

A student walkout is planned for next week. What will it accomplish?

Students, teachers, and faculty around OHS have been asking this question over the past couple of weeks. With a student walkout for many schools in the country scheduled for March 14, a dialogue has been created around the school about the walkout, its purpose, and what we, as a school, are going to do that day.

Some people think that the walkout is pointless, that we don’t need to do it, or that it’s a waste of class time, but the walkout is a national movement, put on to draw attention to this issue and our opinions as students. Things won’t change if we refuse to do anything; the past 20 years show how effective inaction is. The walkout will also take place during ANP (academic network period), so there won’t be a loss of instruction time.

The walkout is in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL that took the lives of 17 students. The walkout is planned as a tribute to these victims, 17 minutes of silence, a minute for each victim. It also serves as a time to remember all the victims of school shootings, the 32 killed at Virginia Tech in 2007, the 27 elementary schoolers killed at Sandy Hook in 2012, the 15 at Columbine, the victims of the 11 other school shootings that have happened this year, and countless others.

School shootings have been happening for decades, but our government, our nation, refuses to change in response to them. The issue has been blamed on gun control laws, mental health problems, inadequate school safety, but we do not take action to solve any of these issues. We as a nation grieve and call shootings tragedies for a few days and then we move on; We don’t do anything to change it. This walkout draws attention back to the shooting, which occurred not even a month ago. We as a nation have already begun to move on, but the survivors of the Parkland shooting won’t allow it. They are making a stand and using their experiences as pedestals, calling out our nation for its inaction. This walkout is to stand in solidarity with them.

Schools across the country plan to walk out to get attention, to raise awareness, and to take a stand. The walk-out is to say that we as students, as people, as Americans are finished with this inaction. We are being murdered in the places we are supposed to learn, supposed to feel safe, but nobody is doing anything. The walk-out is to call for those in power in our nation to do something to help us, to end this pattern that we have allowed to continue for years.

We need the walkout because most of the students at OHS can’t vote. We are unable to make direct change in our government until we are registered to vote at 18, but we want to express our opinions and encourage change now. This walkout is one of the only ways we are able to show politicians what we think.

Maybe the walkout won’t change anything, maybe all of these high schoolers deciding to protest won’t move politicians or encourage them to act, but maybe, just maybe it will. Isn’t that worth at least a try.