Wednesday, March 14th, 2018, the Northland Pines High School students led a seventeen-minute walkout in memory of the seventeen lives lost of students in Parkland, Florida, one month ago.
One-hundred and eleven students participated in the silent, respectful, and safe walkout. The Northland Pines High School had two banners hanging in the gym for those to write on. One of the banners questioned, “What can we do to keep our school safe?” and the other one stated, “#Enough” Fifty-six students walked outside to respectfully honor those who lost their lives and fifty-five students walked to the field house to write on the banners and sit quietly for the seventeen minutes.
Prior to the walkout, the students met with administration to find the best way to allow our students to express themselves and honor the students who lost their lives in a safe manner. Laura Garling, a student who headed the school walkout, said “From the very beginning, administration was very supportive. They wanted this to be a primarily student-led organization and gave us the freedom to memorialize the lives lost in Parkland, FL.”
The walkout became very controversial due to that many parents that tried to infuse politics into it. “With political views aside, I think we can all agree that the innocent lives lost in school shootings is an absolute tragedy. The purpose of the walkout at our school was to express that sadness. We wanted to say that we have had enough of students just like us, falling victim to violence. That being said, political elements were inevitably brought up, particularly focusing around gun control. In our area, we have very diverse opinions on this subject and we tried to keep it as open of an environment as possible. Again, we didn’t want to make this walkout political. To those who tried, we simply tried to reiterate our true intentions of this walkout,” said Garling. The walkout had one purpose set by our student body and that was to memorialize the lives lost in the Parkland school shooting.
The walkout was a success and allowed the students to do what they wanted to and express themselves in those seventeen minutes. We asked Garling how she thought the walkout went and her response was, “We received a lot of positive feedback from community members and staff. I am very proud of everyone for standing up for what they believe in, whatever that may be. Some may not see this as a success, however, I believe that this is just the beginning of hearing from our generation on the issue of making school a safer, kinder environment and as a nation, I think we got the attention of those who can work to achieve that.”