By Aubrie Wise
Four different sides occured from the National Walkout on March 14 at Red Lion Senior High School. 13 students participated in the outdoor protest with the knowledge they would receive a 3-hour Saturday detention for their actions. Around 150 students went to a memorial at the Fitzkee Center, which was non-political and dedicated to the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting. Then there were several students that showed up to the memorial wearing NRA shirts. The final side was the rest of the student body who chose to stay in their homerooms. There was reasoning as to why each group made the decision that they did.
Politically-charged students left the school building with signs in their hands protesting for gun control and trying to make a change. The reasoning behind walking outdoors was to follow through with the plans that the students from Parkland had arranged and to make a difference. The difference they want is ultimately safer schools through better security as well as universal background checks for people trying to buy guns at private retails or public.
“I think it’s a really beautiful thing that a majority of schools across the country they all got together to do one big thing,” Alexis Decker, sophomore, said. “I’d do it two or three more times. I’d do it until something gets done because a Saturday detention isn’t worth more than students lives.”
The largest body of students who took action were those who went to the event planned by Student Council in the Fitzkee Center. There, students stood silently mourning for those 17 victims as Jacob Franciscus, the President of Student Council, read off the names of the victims as well as a short biography of each of the students. The rest of the time was spent in complete silence as students comforted one another, prayed, and mourned for those who died.
“March 14 was not about gun violence, especially not at Red Lion,” Delaney Jess, sophomore, said. “It was solely focused on the students. This was about the victims and inside was the best way to show my support for them.”
A smaller group of students received a lot of attention for going to the Fitzkee Center walk-in wearing shirts that said NRA. Many saw their actions as disrespectful and inconsiderate but those students disagree. The reasoning behind wearing the shirts was to bring attention to the politics behind the event.
“If the event was truly only a memorial why would anyone not voluntarily attend? Why have we never had a memorial for any of the other school shooting, but as soon as anti-gun laws get involved, our school and others do too and play it off as a memorial,” Brandon Snyder, senior, said. “I wore it because it’s what I believe. I wore it because I believe guns are not the problem. This is a mental health issue, not a gun issue. It’s sad the deaths of these people had to be turned into a political crisis.”
They mentioned that they were not chanting anything and stood respectfully silent during the speech and moment of silence. However, if their actions did unintentionally offended anyone they apologize.
The mass of Red Lion students chose, however, to abstain from all of the activities. Talking to students on why they stayed back, many thought participating would not make a difference. Others felt that both of the events were too political and did not want to be associated with politics.
“It was for a good cause, but it wouldn’t be making a difference,” Lily Cross, senior, said. “I just feel like people should educate themselves more before they go and make fools of themselves.”
Every student had their own reasoning for where they were on March 14, whether they were making a political statement, mourning those who died, or staying away from it all.