Opinion: Students Participate in National 17-Minute Walkout

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On April 20th, a handful of ADM students comprised of freshman to seniors left the school at 10:00 AM to participate in a 17-minute walkout to “end gun violence.”  Students also saw their demonstration as an act of solidarity, and spent five minutes in silence to commemorate lives lost to school shootings.

The timing of their demonstration was not supported by the school board, however, who voted to allow a walkout at 3:11, the normal dismissal time for students who are not required to attend tutoring.

I went to the 3:11 walkout, too, and I stared at an empty flagpole for 20 minutes before calling it quits.

I did, however, watch someone waltz right in front of a car in motion in an attempt to get into their own faster, and it made me wonder if the decision to coordinate a demonstration at dismissal time, when students would be forced to cross the street, has any wisdom in it.

That’s none of my business, however, and I respect the school board’s dedication to our learning environment–but, if there isn’t any pushback, is it really a protest?

A forty minute detention (that I’m currently writing this in) is nothing in terms of punishment, not when the students of our country are on the line–some schools promised (and followed through with) three day suspensions as punishment for the disruption of class, because to quietly get up and leave the room without a word is horribly disruptive.

Which is, again, none of my business.

What is my business, however, is my safety, the safety of other children, and eventually the safety of my own children in school. The ridiculous back and forth that has forever plagued the two-party system has kept any real change from being made, and I fear that schools will be just as dangerous for the next generation as they are for mine.

I wonder what the turnout would’ve been had students not been threatened with punishment.  Would there have been more protesters, or absolutely no change in numbers? Either way, as the voice of the future it’s important that students feel like they can be heard and learn early on how to effect change in their world; whether it’s wearing orange ribbons, organizing town halls, or participating in peaceful protests. ADM should be proud of the informed citizens it contains.

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