17 victims. 17 minutes.
On February 14th, 2:21 PM, students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School experienced hell on earth. Six minutes later, the lives of seventeen people had been brutally claimed, and the hearts of many more permanently scarred. Armed with a semi-automatic AR-15, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot and killed these victims, fled, and was arrested an hour after the slaughter.
Exactly one month later, March 14th was not a typical Wednesday for students at Corvallis High School. Classes and other school functions ran as per usual, but at 10:00 AM, hundreds of students walked out of their morning classes and gathered on the football field. Every minute, a victim of the shooting was named. Following a brief description, Kari Gottfried and Julia Keon spoke about the issue of gun violence in the United States and provided students with information on how to stay active. Seventeen minutes later, the crowd dispersed and returned to business as usual.
The walkout at CHS was part of a bigger movement that took place in schools across the nation. Discussion about honoring the victims sparked shortly after the shooting on social media, with chain posts about a protest spreading like wildfire across different platforms. On March 8th, the Corvallis School District school board discussed the rights of students regarding the protest, and a resolution was unanimously passed allowing students to participate if they desired to. Almost every school in the district took part in the event. However, some schools participated more actively than others.
With a turnout of roughly a third of the student population, reactions towards the walkout were mixed. On one side of the argument, students in support felt that nationwide gun reform is desperately needed. On the other hand, some students who did not participate stated that gun reform was not an answer to the issue. Furthermore, others criticized participants stating that “simply walking out won’t make a difference”. Others held what could be considered a middle ground, interpreting the walkout as simply being a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting.
Regardless of what stance students and others hold, virtually all can agree that something must be done in order to prevent more tragedies such as this one. The walkout was simply one example of activism executed by a passionate community. Only time will tell whether the actions taken will prove to be effective.
Alyssa Alhadeff. Martin Duque Anguiano. Jaime Guttenberg. Aaron Feis. Scott Beigel. Nicholas Dworet. Carmen Schentrup. Peter Wang. Helena Ramsay. Alex Schachter. Meadow Pollack. Joaquin Oliver. Alaina Petty. Gina Montalto. Cara Loughran. Luke Hoyer. Chris Hixon. Jaime Guttenberg.
You will never be forgotten.