On Mar. 14, as part of National Walkout Day, South will be participating in a walkout during finals week. In response to the Parkland shooting and the increase in gun violence at schools, eighth graders Rhea Despard, Allie Bodaken from Blair Middle School and many other students felt something finally had to change, so they began planning a walkout around the country. Organizations such Women’s March Youth group, Empower, and students and schools around the U.S took action in creating the event to send a message across the country.
South’s school administration has set up a 17-minute window for students to protest and voice their opinions at the flagpole. The time frame is from 10:00 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. and the regular finals schedule begins at 10:30. Each minute of the walkout is used to represent a life lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Some students feel that because of the short time, the protest will not be significant or yield any change. However, many teachers and students feel South should participate somehow in the national walkout.
“I don’t think people understand the relevance of it. It is 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost. This is more of a beginning step to push the issue forward than an action step,” English teacher Alicia Sterling said. “It is essentially coming together, holding hands and saying that we as a nation do not accept the violence that has taken over and the lives lost at schools, theaters, and churches. It might not feel as though actions are taking place, but it is more to build momentum.”
Furthermore, the administration has set up a sign-up list for teachers who want to oversee the protest.
“The last walkout had a lot of chaos and confusion. Because of finals, the administration wants to make sure everyone is safe, and this is a walkout for safety, so having people there to provide safety is essential,” Sterling said.