Students walk out for change


Prycilla Rodriguez, Entertainment Editor

On March 14th, at approximately 10:00 in the morning, students from across the United States took part in the #MarchForOurLives nationwide walk-out. The walkouts were planned to spread awareness of the increasing gun violence that takes place in schools. Students from all four RPS 205 high schools participated in the event to protest against gun violence, and approximately 200 Guilford students gathered in the front entrance of the school.
“It was beautiful seeing our community together for the greater good,” said Maggie Torrisi, junior. “I plan on attending the march on March 24th and continuing to bring awareness.”
Grace Carlson, junior, helped organize the walk-out for Guilford with the support of many other students. Those involved contributed to getting the approval from the superintendent, Dr. Ehren Jarrett, who made a statement that allowed students to freely walk out of class without punishment from administration.
“It’s not going to stop here,” said Carlson. “We are going to continue to spread our message about safety in schools.”
Administrators and Principal Carter made sure to keep students safe by monitoring the event the entire time.
“In all my years of working at Guilford, there has only been one other occasion like the walkout,” said Mrs. Ashley Carlson, BAMIT Academy Principal. “My job was to monitor the doors to make sure only those allowed to enter the school came in.”
Megan Peterson, senior, gave a speech that included reading the names of the seventeen students and staff who were murdered at Stoneman Douglas High School one month before on February 14th. A poem about preventing gun violence was read by Katiyla Price, junior.
“I was surprised and happy with the number of people who walked out,” said Jernie Saunders, junior. “For the future, I want us to be able to come together more as a school and community and share the same passion for topics such as the safety of our schools.”
On February 14th, 2018, Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz’s attack resulted in 17 dead and 14 injured. The people of Parkland had grown ill of being another place that America promised a school shooting would never happen again. Several Stoneman Douglas students decided enough was enough and stood up to politicians by demanding stricter gun laws in America.
After seeing the people of Parkland stand for gun control, Simon Davis, junior at East High School, wanted to show his support. With the help of several students, Davis set out to schedule a walk out at East. After much discussion, Davis and others agreed that in order to have a bigger impact, several schools in the RPS 205 district should participate as well.
“We are trying to pressure our local representatives by demanding comprehensive background checks, sensible gun control, universal mental health care, and pushing the gun lobby out of our politics,” said Davis.
Davis decided he needed to be a part of a change when his six year old sister told their father that if there would be a shooting at her school, she would not make it because she is “too slow.”
“The thought of her being in that position terrified me,” said Davis. “Watching our politicians stand pat in our current situation enraged me, and seeing the students of Parkland stand up inspired me.”
Davis enlisted in the help of East High School senior Rachell Alvarado, who quickly reached out to Guilford for school-wide involvement.
“I think there comes a time in your life where you realize that if you don’t take any action, nothing is going to change,” said Alvarado. “We shouldn’t be going through our education in fear of being murdered when it could be prevented by advocating for strict gun control laws.”
Auburn High School junior Sarah Grall was encouraged to take a stand when her little brother informed her via text message that he believed there was a shooting at his school.
“My heart broke at the thought of family members not knowing if they will see each other again when one goes to school,” said Grall. “That sounds very exaggerated, but that is what happens with all of the school shootings.”
Ty Kiatathikom, senior at Auburn, became an unofficial promoter for the RPS walkouts. He encouraged students to keep cooperating with their administration despite the fear of being ignored.
“An environment like this—tense and high-strung—is (psychologically speaking) no environment for a child to be brought up in,” said Kiatathikom. “It risks convincing the next generation of the false pretense that the world is full of dangers and punishment and that a police state is what is necessary to protect them.”