In protest of gun violence in schools, Skagway students assemble by their school’s flagpole in a walkout demonstration on March 14. PHOTO BY DAN FOX

Local students walk out to protest gun violence in schools

By DAN FOX
EDITOR

On the one-month anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Skagway High students held a walkout protest, adding their voices to a nation full of demonstrations on the tragedy and gun violence in schools.

They stood in the rain in the later part of the morning on March 14 for 17 minutes.

In protest of gun violence in schools, Skagway students assemble by their school’s flagpole in a walkout demonstration on March 14. PHOTOS BY DAN FOX

“For the 17 victims that died,” said Skagway student Kara Whitehead.

Sadie Murphy said the more people who pay attention to their message, the more awareness will be raised.

“We can make a difference if we all get together and protest for what we believe is right,” Madison Cox said. “A lot of people think that we, as teenagers, can’t make a difference, but we can.”

Sahara Kilic referenced the numerous reported warning calls law enforcement received about the Parkland shooter prior to the incident and said people need to be more informed on knowing the warning signs of mental illness.

Students said they thought solutions to gun violence could be reached through both cultural and legislative solutions.   

“I think right now in the White House they’re really trying to do everything but gun control, I think it’s really important to focus on gun control, because nothing is really going to change unless we change the laws,” Iraida Hisman said.

Zach Breen said the solutions lay more in the cultural end, but legislative changes would probably the fastest way to work towards the problem. Better background checks would “do more good than bad,” but when asked Breen said he didn’t think they were an ultimate solution.

“I don’t know, it’s a good question,” Breen said.

Coming up on April 20, students also plan on performing a different demonstration in memory of the Columbine High School shooting, though what that will entail has not been worked out yet.

The March 14 walkout was originally conceived by the Skagway student council, though Whitehead said both members of student council and non-members participated in the protest.

Skagway teachers Rebecca Sullivan and Kent Fielding, who were outside for the 17-minute demonstration, said they supported the students.

“I think this is great,” Fielding said. “I mean it’s their world, and this is what they’re supposed to be doing – speaking up.”