The school colors are orange and blue and sometimes on shirts, white too. These colors engulf students from the second they step into the school to the second they walk out on the last day of senior year. These colors stand for this school and its sports, clubs, friendships, teachers, and at their base, the student body.
On National School Walkout Day on March 14, those colors took on a new meaning. Our orange shirts were worn not for a game or a pep rally but because that is the color of gun violence awareness. Students handed out 17 white roses for each victim and there was a general blue feeling in the air as the snow fell while the names were solemnly read out.
“I would guess somewhere between 350-450 students walked out,” senior Jackson Schiefelbien, who organized the walkout with junior Zaida Jenkins, said.
The 17 minutes were quiet, with the only noises being the wind blowing, news helicopters buzzing above, and the soft sound of students’ voices. A moment of silence was observed, but the rest of the time was spent handing out roses and with “If I didn’t live to see tomorrow…” statements from 17 students.
“I would not be able to repay my parents for all of their hard work and struggles they have overcome as immigrants,” sophomore Yasmin Yuusuf stated during the walkout.
A common theme in these statements was the sense of loss that would come to others should that student not be here tomorrow. These statements also exhibited that students were aware of the walkout’s purpose.
“My friends will be forced to see my empty seat not only at school, but also during graduation,” senior Sydney Tavens said during the walkout.
School walkouts were seen as controversial by some parents and Second Amendment advocates. Some people believed students should focus on school rather than politics; others thought students were merely skipping class. Some parents believed the #NeverAgain movement was an insult to the Constitution.
Despite those beliefs, students persevered because if history is any guide, it is students and “meddling kids” who bring about change. Along with the walkouts, Parkland students were joined by more than one million people during the March for Our Lives on the Capitol and its sister walks on state capitols on March 24, according to USA Today.
“My friends and I decided to march to support the victims who have been subject to gun violence but also to take a step forward in avoiding such tragic events again. The main reason was for our voices to be heard and make it clear that we didn’t want this to happen over and over again,” junior Manasa Korrapatti, who attended the Columbus March for Our Lives, said.
Schiefelbein and Jenkins also ran a voter registration drive with the school’s office to simplify the process of students exercising their right to vote and to show that walkouts and March for Our Lives are a stepping stone toward lasting change that students are fully capable of creating.
So, meddling kids, continue meddling. It need not be through walkouts, but sign petitions, send letters to representatives, talk about causes, vote out people who are sitting ducks in office, talk about causes you are passionate about and never give up on change.