DHS students plan walkout in support of gun control

Students display signs they created for the walkout on March 8. Photo by Reaghan Wharff.

Students display signs they created for the walkout on March 8. Photo by Reaghan Wharff.

Rylee Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

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Following the events of the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, there is a national debate over what should be done to prevent these events from happening. This movement is unique in the fact that it is being led by the student survivors in Florida. The energy behind this movement has spread to high schools around the country, with many students planning class walkouts, as well as led to the organization of national events such as March for Our Lives.

While these student movements have gained the attention of both legislators and the media, students in some districts are being threatened with disciplinary action and even suspension.  

In reaction to these consequences, over 117 universities have released statements that facing disciplinary action for peacefully protesting will not negatively affect students admission chances.

With walkout protest events planned at both De Soto High School and Mill Valley High School, students have raised concern over potential consequences of participating in a walkout. While students have the right to protest at school in a non-disruptive manner, such as wearing clothing with political statements, walking out of class can be considered a disruption. School districts are legally allowed to discipline students for missing class, the punishment cannot be more severe if a student was protesting than if they missed class for any other reason.

Sophomore Aspen Grieshaber organized the walkout at DHS. Grieshaber estimates that over 200 students will participate.

Grieshaber outlined the goals behind the walkout.

“The walkout will honor the 17 lives that were lost, but it’s also to tell our government that we’re done with sitting back and waiting for them to do something. Whether or not your political beliefs are different, our main goal is to get stricter gun control,” Grieshaber said.

Grieshaber assures students and parents that the walkout is not a protest against school administration.

“I would like them to know that it’s peaceful. We’re not doing this against them[the administration]. We’re facing the rest of the world, we’re not against the school,”Grieshaber said.

Grieshaber and senior Zach Yarbrough posted an open letter on Twitter, detailing the plans for the walkout. Students plan to leave class at 10:00 on March 8, and stay outside for 17 minutes.

Grieshaber feels she and other organizers have adequately prepared the walkout for any negative attention it may receive.

“We’re doing the proper steps of informing the administration.We’re ready to deal with any issues that arise,” Grieshaber said.

DHS administration has been supportive of the walkout.

“I am appreciative with the manner in which these students have organized this event. This is a student-led activity and students who choose to participate will not receive a consequence for doing so,” DHS principal Dustin Mortenson said in the principal’s message of the Mar. 2 Wildcat Growl newsletter.

 

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