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Foxes Support the March 14 National School Walkout to End Gun Violence


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Seventeen students were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. To honor those killed in the atrocity, the National School Walkout was held today, on March, 14th, 2018. The other reason for the walkout, was to protest Congress, to reform gun control, so that citizens are safer. The protest was organized by students and those who orchestrated the Women’s March, and about 185,000 people in the United States were expected to participate. Students, teachers, parents, etc. were asked to walk out and partake in the protest, but some schools banned students from participating, like our own HMS at one point.

At first, San Marino Unified Schools District was only allowing SMHS to take part in the walkout for safety reasons. Mr. Kurtenbach, our principal, wanted to keep HMS students safe on campus. However, some students did not listen to this caution and continued to speak out against this.

HMS students decided to organize their own school walkout. To promote it, they started posting about it on social media and more. One post stated, “You will NOT be suspended if you remain on campus!”

However, lots of students were still reluctant and unsure about taking part in the student organized walk out. Students were scared of getting in trouble. There were rumors going around about suspension, but students were determined to make their voices count.

“The school cannot suspend you for walking out on Wednesday California Education Code 48900 lists all the things you can get suspended for, and an unexcused absence, which is what this is, is not one of them,” Nora Chang (7) said in an Instagram post. This post raised lots of awareness and was reposted by many more students.

Students had to choose whether to take part in the walk out and take the risk of suffering the consequences, or staying away from trouble in their classroom. However, this began to become a matter of taking sides.

“For those who are walking out: Don’t put down others who aren’t doing it. They may care about the subject but be worried about the risk,” Lexi Smith (7) said in a Snapchat post, that made its way over to other platforms like Instagram.

With all the commotion on the subject, Mr. Kurtenbach sent out an email to students and parents about the matter on the night of March 13, 2018. He stated that students who participate in the walk out would be reported as truant to the office, meaning they left school without permission.

Even with this email, students were persistent and still wanted to walk out. HMS even made an instagram post on the same night addressing the cause and suggesting other ways to support the walkout without getting in trouble. However, students were still not convinced they did not have the right to peacefully and respectfully protest.

“We can be kind any day, and that is great. But what does this have to do with school shootings?” Maddy Tran (7) commented on the HMS Instagram post.

Even with those types of comments, there were still students like Ryan Qu who were in support of this idea of using other ways to honor the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting. The official HMS post was later deleted after a couple hours.

Students were still determined to walk out even with the school directly addressing that HMS will not take apart of it. However, Mr. Kurtenbach eventually agreed to let students walk out.

On the morning of March 14th, Mr. Kurtenbach sent out an email to students stating that students will be allowed to walk out. The bell schedule was changed so second period would end early, so that students could be monitored and be kept safe. However, students who did not want to participate stayed in the lunch court area for an extended snack break. Students who did want to participate met in the quad to stay quiet for those seventeen minutes.

Many at the walkout were holding posters, to support the walkout, some were just staring into space, some had a bit of movement, and some were whispering, but the atmosphere as a whole, was very solemn and very respectful. Teachers also stood with students, and many of those who are usually chatty, were completely quiet, and that was something truly special.

After the walkout, Mr. Kurtenbach sent out an email stating, “Today was an excellent example of what it means to think critically about who you are in a worldwide community. I am so very proud of our staff and even more so of our students. You demonstrated calm passion, deep insight, and mature resolve in seeking an opportunity, then demonstrating your beliefs, attitudes, and actions. I am both humbled by your grace and determined to do right in making future decisions which honor your actions. Thank you for showing everyone what it means to be a student at HMS.”

Powerful images from today’s walkout at HMS…

 

Social Media Posts Calling HMS Students to Join the Walkout…

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Foxes Support the March 14 National School Walkout to End Gun Violence