The Dublin Shield

Students Unite in a Peaceful Walkout to Advocate for Legislative Reform to End Gun Violence

Event+organizers+and+speakers+pose+with+their+posters+following+the+event.
Event organizers and speakers pose with their posters following the event.

Event organizers and speakers pose with their posters following the event.

Michael Utsumi

Michael Utsumi

Event organizers and speakers pose with their posters following the event.

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On Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 Dublin High School students united in a national school walkout to protest gun violence, demonstrating heir solidarity with students and victims across the nation.

In the weeks prior to the event, students had gained administrative support, ensuring that students wouldn’t be punished for walking out. Senior Shayari Saha argued that “being endorsed by the district, when we should be protesting against their lack of real action” took away from the meaning of the event. Several students expressed similar concerns but nonetheless it was a privilege to be supported by administration unlike other students around the nation who were all but prohibited from participating.

 

Michael Utsumi
Students assemble outside the old gym at 10:00am.

 

Students walked out of their classrooms at 10:00 am when they participated in a peaceful walkout for seventeen minutes. Assembling in front of the old gym, a multitude of students wore orange or black and brought posters they had designed.

 

Michael Utsumi
Students walk out of their classrooms at 10:00am.

 

The demonstration featured a moment of silence for school mass shooting victims, moving speeches, and introduced how students could support Stoneman Douglas High School through supportive messages and financial donations set up in the HUBHub.

It was clear though, that regardless of how involved or prepared students were prior to that event, the majority of students were passionate and interested in the cause while there. After the event, Sophomore Sarah McCarrick, one of the event organizers, remarked that it was powerful “to see how supportive and willing to participate students were.”

After all, change doesn’t come from wearing the same color on a certain day, it comes from a group of individuals dedicated to the same ideals.

 

Michael Utsumi
Event organizers and speakers pose with their posters following the event.

 

Sophomore Ganeev Ahluwalia feared that “a lot of students were only there to get away from their class.” However, she also hoped that those who  “demonstrated meant something and would make a difference.”

 

Students are silent for a minute in respect to those who lost their lives in school shootings.

 

From a similar perspective, one student who choose not to participate in the walkout mentioned that “[he] wasn’t sure what it would accomplish.” He also expressed that he “was grateful for the support he received from other students in his decision and hoped the other few who exercised their right not to participate weren’t ostracized.”

It’s important to remember that forcing people to express their support is never a genuine solution. Gun control is a multifaceted and controversial issue. If we truly want to bridge the divide in our country and community, we must be open to other perspectives.The solutions to gun violence in schools must be comprehensive and effective. As the event organizers all consistently reiterated, protecting students’ lives should never be a partisan issue, students must be willing to overcome their differences and stand together for safer schools.

The students who have been called America’s future deserve to attend school without fear of losing their life. The walkout symbolized their unity and unwillingness to give up until they saw real, effective legislation. The unity demonstrated at the walkout gave organizers and participants hope that change was possible.

 

A student in the crowd holds a poster expressing the passion among students for change.

 

Junior Emily Nie echoed the sense of hope among students, believing that the event was “well organized and well executed for being run by students.” In her view, the turnout also demonstrated that “teenagers today are genuinely paying attention to serious political and social issues.”

Though the reaction to the walkout was varied, the support from the student body is an important foundation for creating real change. The walkout is just a first step though; it is meaningless if we’re not committed to translating our beliefs into genuine change.

 

As students, we are the most vulnerable in school shootings, and political authorities have made it clear that the push for change is in our hands. Regardless of your political beliefs or perspectives, participating in a conversation over creating genuine solutions to school shootings is both our right and responsibility. Ultimately, with no one else willing to shoulder the responsibility, it is up to us to peacefully advocate for the change we believe in and deserve.

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