Wilson High IB students speak out about gun violence
By Bethany Williams
Wilson High student
On March 14, a nationwide school walkout was held to protest gun violence in schools. This protest, coming in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, aimed to shed light on an issue that is so often forgotten a few weeks after these tragic events: our schools are not safe.
The protest on March 14 was significant because it was student-led. That significance was taken away when the school administrations of Florence School District One decided to take over the protests. Students at Wilson were not asked for their opinion on how the protest should be conducted. Instead, the administration took hold of this so-called student-led protest until it was no longer about what the students wanted. This protest was meant to be students’ opportunity to speak out, to help make schools a place where students do not have to question if they will come home at the end of the day. Because they were robbed of that opportunity that Wednesday, some Wilson High School IB students have decided to speak out now.
These students have put together a collection of statements expressing concern about safety in our schools. These statements, among other things, discuss what they hoped would happen through the walkout, the emotional effects that the fear of violence can have, and security protocols that we believe must be taken to protect us.
Following are two student statements
Amelia, IB Junior
On Wednesday, March 14, I decided to “walk out” to protest school shootings. This walk out was meant to send a message, to lawmakers, district staff, and frankly to all Americans how important this issue is to me. School shootings are a serious problem in America that has gone unanswered for almost 20 years.
Through this walk out I was trying to ask when change would come, when automatic weapons would be banned to the public, when background checks will be mandatory, and ultimately when I can feel safe in my own school again.
When Florence School District 1 decided they would steal my time to protest, I was frustrated. They announced they were scheduling a memorial for the Parkland victims at the same time as our walk out on the opposite lawn. I valued the lives lost at Parkland, so I decided I would participate in the memorial. I believe there is a time to mourn and honor the victims and a time to stand up for your rights in protest. This was the latter.
The nation was calling for reform while we had taken the idea but lost the meaning. However, this memorial wasn’t a memorial to me at all. The balloons were of good intention, but the purple and gold display didn’t seem to honor Parkland at all.
My voice had been replaced by the robotic “we’re so sorry for your loss” message every politician sends out, after every shooting. The district used this crass memorial as a way to mute my voice. A voice which calls out for change. So since they wouldn’t listen then let them listen now. Students safety should be of utmost importance. Help me feel safe at school again.
More student statements can be found on Facebook or Twitter for the hashtag #whsyoungvoices.