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#ENOUGH is Enough: USD 257 Join the Movement

Lindsey Temaat, Managing Editor

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Iola High School students and faculty participate in the #ENOUGH: National School Walkout by walking around the Iola Square in support of safety in schools.

This morning, March 14, 2018 at 10 a.m. students and faculty of Iola High School USD 257 participated in the #ENOUGH: National School Walkout to stand up for their rights to safety in schools, and to honor the students that were killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting exactly one month ago.

On Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School became the site of another deadly mass shooting. The school is located in Parkland, Fla., and the tragedy has been referred to by individuals and the media as the “Parkland Shooting.” Seventeen people died (14 students and 3 teachers) and even more were wounded by bullets.

Although there is some debate about the numbers, EveryTown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy non-profit, reported 17 school shootings have occured since the beginning of 2018.

However, the Parkland Shooting has entered uncharted territory, and the after effects could mean big changes are in store regarding gun legislation and mental health awareness.

Cameron Kasky, a Parkland shooting survivor and  self-proclaimed “theater kid” has become a sort of mouthpiece for a movement that sparked just days after the shooting. What started as student’s individual Facebook posts led to national media attention. Survivors capitalized on this, and began the #NeverAgain Movement.

#NeverAgain was formed to discuss change in gun laws, including petitioning for stricter background checks upon purchasing firearms, and for “talking about remembrance” of their classmates (Witt).

As a result of numerous young adults speaking out and joining the movement, the #ENOUGH: National School Walkout was formed. Across America, students and teachers walked out of their schools from 10 a.m. (local time) until 10:17 a.m. to “honor the lives of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas and press lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws” (Andone).

The walkout was organized on the national level by EMPOWER, the youth branch of Women’s March (Andone).

CLOSE TO HOME

The bravery and intelligence of the Parkland survivors has inspired young people across the nation to speak their mind, even in our own backyard.

The main focus of the walkout, as decided by the SADD group after some discussion, is basically calling for a safer school and telling our community that we don’t feel safe in our schools, and that is totally not okay.”

— Olivia Taylor

Olivia Taylor, a 17 year old senior at Iola High School who was following the coverage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School story on the news, heard about the plans for the national walkout.

“I thought it was so impressive of those students to take a stand, and I got thinking about my school, and how our campus isn’t the safest,” said Taylor. “I talked to our principal, who wasn’t really on board at first, but had a change of heart after a while, and is now totally in support of it.”

In addition to being involved in FBLA, Student Government, Band, Choir, Basketball, and Cross Country, Taylor is the president of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). After discussing it with the group it was decided that Taylor and the members of SADD would oversee and plan the walkout at the local level.

“The main focus of the walkout, as decided by the SADD group after some discussion, is basically calling for a safer school and telling our community that we don’t feel safe in our schools, and that is totally not okay,” said Taylor.

The Principal of Iola High School, Scott Crenshaw expressed that the school’s administration support the students’ choice to participate in the walkout because it is an opportunity for real-world education.

“We are viewing this as an educational opportunity to learn lessons in social reform and social science,” said Crenshaw. “This is a way of letting students know that they do have a voice and can express their opinions in a constructive way. There is a lot more to life than just math and science. It is very exciting that these students are thinking ‘how can I use my citizenship to make the world a better place.’”

While SADD and Taylor had the full backing of the administration, it is important to note that on the local level gun laws were not the focus of the event.

“I don’t think gun violence should be viewed as a political issue, with Democrats on one side, and Republicans on another,” said Taylor. “ I think it should be addressed as a national emergency, and all parties involved should work together to do all they can to address the issue as painlessly, and effectively as possible.”

Sources:

http://time.com/5168272/how-many-school-shootings/

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-the-survivors-of-parkland-began-the-never-again-movement

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/us/national-school-walkout-march-14/index.html

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#ENOUGH is Enough: USD 257 Join the Movement