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Bruins join nationwide school walkout

Associated Student Body President Bella Batula leads a walkout on Wednesday in solidarity with the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo by Morgan Ham

A protest with the setting of an overcast sky took place at Bear River on March 14 to remember the lives of those lost in the Parkland shooting and allow students to voice a variety of opinions concerning gun control.

Many Bruins participated in a walkout organized by the Social Justice class, gathering in the quad, walking with handmade signs to the end of the parking lot, and participating there in a yarn bracelet tying activity and a moment of silence for the 17 students and staff members killed in Florida.

Sophomore Jordan Moore explained why she participated in this event.

“I made the decision to do the walkout because I thought regardless of my political standings … it’s just very important to remember the lives that were lost in the Parkland shooting, and basically just stand up for safety in school,” she said.

Grace Billingsley, a fellow sophomore, went into the detail of why she remained in class.

“I didn’t walk out because I do see the importance of supporting the Florida victims and the cause that they are supporting, but I also don’t agree with some of their policies,” Billingsley said. “Some of the more extremist policies like demilitarizing the police force, which I disagree with.”

She went on to describe her alternative form of protest.

“I decided to do something that’s more of a walk up instead of a walkout,” she said. “It’s like a positive thing, where you go and you meet new people, or you are nice to new people or you make an effort to do something positive instead of just protesting in a negative way.”

Junior Aydan Rossovich voiced similar opinions to Billingsley concerning the walkout.

“I feel for them and their families, but I didn’t walk out because part of the walk out was a gun control thing, and me and my family, we kind of understand that the more gun control, the worse things are going to get,” she said. “It’s like the restrictions on drugs: The more restrictions on drugs, the more people want to do them. It’s sort of a rebellious thing.”

Regardless of Bruins’ political views, students said that they thought that the issue was over politicized.

“I think it is horrible and sad that we felt the need to bring political views into this,” said Sophomore Zach Fink. “The walk should not have been about guns or laws it should have just been about the lives that were lost and remembering them. Today should have been about trying to change the heart, not the mind.”

He went on to connect the issue to another very close to the hearts of Bruins.

“When we lost Jude and Joe, we did not go out into the streets and say we should make cars illegal,” he said. “We remembered the people they were and tried to put ourselves to rest with it.”

Despite the fact that Bruins said that they wish the event was not politicized, some said that they felt they would be making a political statement by choosing either to walk out or not to walk out.

“For the most part it was more just a movement in support to say, to Florida, to all the students and parents and families of the victims that they support them, and that the country is mourning with them,” said Billingsley. “But … for some people it’s a lot more of a political stance against the government that we have and the president, and some people it’s a stance against gun control, and other people I think it’s just a show of support.”

However, Moore said that she disagreed.

“I’d say if you walked out you weren’t necessarily making any sort of political statement, because I saw a lot of people out there with signs that displayed a whole bunch of different messages,” she said.

Social Justice Club Leader Josie Andrews said that while she felt the protest was a step in the right direction, it should have happened before the Parkland tragedy and not after.

“I’m not anti-gun, I’m not anti-second amendment, but I do think that instead of having reactions and putting laws in place when something like this happens, that we need to be more proactive and make sure that this doesn’t happen from the start,” Mrs. Andrews said. “All of a sudden everybody wants to be involved in the conversation when we should have been having the conversation all along.”

Junior Taylor Medlyn, along with several others, said that they were excited that high school student voices are being heard.

“I think that we shouldn’t be scared to go to school, and we shouldn’t let the adults say you can’t do this,” Medlyn said. “It’s our right, because we can do, not whatever we want, but we can walk out.”

“I believe that as students we are used to being surrounded by peers of different view points, and as teens we are used to dramatic emphasis on individual opinions,” said ASB President and Senior Bella Batula. “Therefore, I feel we are equipped to speak out respectful and understandingly. Immaturity is not a measure of age but rather a measurement of mental professionalism when it is called for.”


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Bruins join nationwide school walkout