Students walk out to end gun violence

At East Grand Rapids High School, all students are encouraged to work for what they believe in. Recently, students all around the nation organized a student-led walkout in response to the fatal Florida school shooting in February. The initial intent of the walkout was for students to leave their classrooms for 17 minutes in order to honor each of the 17 victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting. However, the initiative students of our school that were so involved with the event had more planned.

Students such as Jordan Plumstead ‘20, Lily Harkless ‘20, Madeline Meyer ‘18, Oliver Shapton ‘20, Carly Krupp ‘20, and Grace Griemsman ‘20 took action and got involved with the walkout. They advertised the event on their social media making sure students were prepared for the event with warm clothing and signs. For those who didn’t bring their own sign, they also provided signs for anyone to carry. Jordan Plumstead has hard opinions on the walkout and became so initiative because he wanted to see change.

“I had a wakeup call,” said Plumstead ‘20. “I realized things need to change and that I could be the person to help with that.”

The walkout had a tremendous turnout. Hundreds of students carrying signs walked around the track and to Memorial Field. At Memorial Field, they listened to the 6 students (named above) speak on the change they wanted to see be made. The main intent of the walkout was to honor those killed in the Florida School Shooting, however another intent was to address gun control in America. Many believe that it is far too easy to aquire a gun in the US. The shooter of the fatal Florida school shooting, Nikolas Cruz, legally owned the gun with which he shot and killed 17 different students. Many students saw the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting as a consequence of the US’ lax policies on the ownership of guns, and more specifically, automatic assault rifles.

“My main reason for protest was gun control, because, in my opinion, the root of our problems in America are guns. The way we treat guns in America need to change,” said Plumstead ‘20.

The students who participated in the walkout were not given unexcused absences for leaving class. The school’s lack of punishment to the walkers was not pushing a political agenda on the students, but rather encouraging them to support their own political opinions. Those who didn’t participate in the walkout weren’t disrespecting the killed students in the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting, but simply disagreed with the addressal of gun control the walkout also included. No judgement should be passed to these students, nor should there be on those who did walk out. All in all, the walkout’s success showed the organization and hard work of students who strongly believed in something.