In Solidarity with Parkland

By James Canfield, Photo Editor

In solidarity with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students at schools across the nation are organizing walkouts on March 14th, the one-month anniversary of the shooting that took place there.

Many of the students at Tigard have expressed that they won’t be participating in the walkout for a broad spectrum of reasons. Some students are worried about losing class time—we aren’t given a second block extension for the walkout, and some feel like it won’t make a difference.

It’s likely that if a significant portion of a class leaves, your teacher won’t continue teaching. Some teachers have already said that they won’t be teaching during the time of the walkout, and some have said that they would like to participate if all of their students do as well. However, that’s not to say that all teachers will do this, so it’s important to know that it depends entirely on the teacher and what they decide to do. They aren’t being told to wait for the students participating, so there’s no guarantee that you won’t miss a few minutes of a lecture because of it. With that said, if the class time you’re missing is important, there will either be another student there that you can check up with on what you missed, or there won’t be any students for the teacher to teach.

As for the fear of not making a difference, Tigard isn’t alone in this walkout. The Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group’s webpage for the walkout states that 2,545 schools nationwide (and some schools internationally) are participating on the 14th. In a democratic society, the power to incite change lies in the hands of the many.

There are also some students that are concerned that the walkout isn’t going to make a difference; not because of the number of people participating, but because they think the walkout as it’s planned isn’t enough. Traditionally, walkouts are done in spite of authority, and since our administration has approved of the walkout they feel like it’s too controlled, and therefore loses some of what makes it a true “walkout.” Additionally, some of these students think we should be going off of school grounds so that it feels more like a protest.

Why should we be opposed to our school’s administration supporting the walkout? They had no influence over the details of the walkout, which was entirely student-planned based on the details given by the Youth EMPOWER group, who planned this walkout on the national scale. Not only that, but in most major cities, groups have to get a permit to protest, so working with administration is a normal way to go about this. If anything, we should be glad that our administration supports their students standing up for what they believe in, whatever it may be.

With that said, it’s important that we respect each other’s decisions to walk out or to stay in. No matter where you stand, bashing another person for what they choose to do is incredibly disrespectful. That’s not to say that discussing it civilly isn’t okay; it could help you to gain new perspective or strengthen your own views.

Other students have expressed a worry about the “wishy-washy” political stance of the walkout. The Youth EMPOWER webpage states that the walkout is to highlight the issue of gun violence in the United States, and the federal government’s inaction to do anything substantial in preventing future gun-related deaths. Despite this, the students at Tigard leading the event have said that our walkout has no political aim, and rather we’re walking out in solidarity with the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. While this may seem like our student leaders just aren’t taking a political stance either way, it actually allows for a wider range of people to participate in the walkout. Whether you just want to walk in solidarity with your peers or you feel strongly about gun control, the lack of a strict political tie-in allows more students to have a place to express themselves.

Regardless of your opinion on gun control, all students are encouraged to show their support for the 17 students who lost their lives on February 14th and their classmates who will be forever changed by the tragedy that they experienced. The walkout will take place on Wednesday, March 14th. If you choose to participate, dismiss yourself from your second block class at 9:55 to meet in the commons, where students will be walking out at 10:00 am, taking a lap around the front of the school, and gathering on the football field for a moment of silence and to hear from your fellow classmates.

If you’re joining in solidarity or protesting injustice, this walkout is a great opportunity to experience something that people do all the time in the “real world.” Join the walkout and show your support.