Vernon Vine

MV stands with MSD

Camile+Barsa+and+Johnny+Mcfly+leading+the+student+walk+out.+
Camile Barsa and Johnny Mcfly leading the student walk out.

Camile Barsa and Johnny Mcfly leading the student walk out.

Michael Del Rosario

Michael Del Rosario

Camile Barsa and Johnny Mcfly leading the student walk out.

Katerin Lopez, Editor in Chief

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On Valentine’s day, Nikolas Cruz took the lives of 17 people, injured 14, and left 5 with life threatening injuries. It has been almost two weeks since 17 innocent lives were tragically lost in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

This tragic event caused students that were affected by the shooting, and students all across the nation, to start pleading for an end to mass shootings and a call to the government and its citizens to enact meaningful and effective gun control laws.

In America, almost anyone can buy a gun. All one needs are two forms of ID and a quick background check that lasts from 30 minutes to possibly 2 hours. In addition, America has more mass shootings than any other country. In 2017, there were a total of 346 mass shootings and in 2018, 34 more have already occurred, according to Gunviolencearchive. org.

Despite the increasing number of shootings, the United States government has yet to produce legislation that will combat the increasing gun violence in the country. In recent news, there has been discussion about the government proposing a bill to arm teachers. For example, Alabama recently proposed a bill to allow teachers to carry guns. Some states appear to be arguing the best way to fix a gun problem is with more guns. Some schools have even proposed wanting to ban backpacks from school, appearing they are willing to ban everything but guns.

The refusal of politicians to pass any sort of gun restriction laws has angered students across the nation, resulting in students making the decision to walk out in protest. Young teens have had enough. A lot of schools in Fairfax County decided to do the same. Schools like Lake Braddock High School, West Potomac High School, and even Walt Whitman Middle School walked out to protest the lack of gun control in Virginia and across the nation.  

MVHS decided to do the same. Twice.

Last Tuesday, 12 students decided to walk out at 12pm and sit by the rock until the end of the school day. Then, on Friday, over 300 students walked out at 10am and stood by the rock. They dedicated a moment of silence for those who were tragically lost in the Florida shooting. The protesting students shouted chants, demanding Gun Control for the safety of themselves and their peers.

Despite the consequences made clear by a supportive administration, that students who walked out of class would be marked as a class cut, they still walked out. They didn’t care. Students were concerned with speaking up for the issues they feel strongly about and wanted to have their voice heard while supporting one another. They believe it  was worth it. Many students commented that they had the full support of their parents and many teachers, and in fact, several teachers joined students at the front of the school during the 17 minute protest, planned as many other recent walkouts: 1 minute for every person killed in Parkland.

Fairfax County had already issued a statement that students “are allowed to leave classrooms and their buildings, although they are encouraged to remain on school property for safety reasons.”  

Ryan McElveen, FCPS At-large School Board Member, tweeted “students have the right to freedom of expression through speech, assembly, petition, and other lawful means and the right to advocate for change.” McElveen has since brought a resolution on gun violence prevention before the school board and received unanimous support, while encouraging “school boards across America to adopt resolutions and hold elected officials accountable until they fix this problem,” in another tweet.

Fairfax County believed students had the right to a peaceful protest. MVHS and Principal Dr. Anthony Terrell did as well, with many teachers allowing  students to return to class without a tardy pass. An email was sent to teachers stating that while students should be marked as cut, they should be allowed back in classrooms without the usual procedure of getting a pass from the subschool.

It was reported that not all teachers followed this procedure, however. There were various complaints from students that teachers were actually locking classroom doors and were refusing to allow students back inside the classroom.

Protesters of all generations have learned that protest can come with a price, even arrest in some circumstances, and students at MVHS showed that they were willing to accept responsibility for their choice, believing that voicing their empathy for Parkland and their anger at how the government is handling it was well worth the sacrifice. Students felt that they were shown respect for their beliefs and right to express those beliefs by both FCPS and MVHS.

On the other hand, nearby Prince William County Schools sent out a statement saying that even though students had the right to a peaceful protest, any students who walked out of a school building would receive disciplinary consequences. They stated that school walkouts are a “distraction.”

“You want to know what else is a distraction Prince William? School shootings,” one student tweeted.  Many angry students in Prince William County took that anger to twitter. They felt as if Prince William didn’t care about the rights they had as students.

Students who look to Dr.Terrell for his continued support were not disappointed and several expressed their gratitude for his defense of their right to free speech and assembly.  On Tuesday, Terrell  went outside and acknowledged the students that had walked out, stating that he supported them. He was also present at the walkout on Friday, as were other teachers who supported the movement. Students appreciated the fact that their Principal cared about them and the issues they are concerned about.

While many school programs reacted the same as MVHS, not all agreed with this stance. Adults and politicians all over the nation were strongly against student walkouts and some have even expressed the belief that students are not educated enough or have enough experience to have an opinion. Most individuals and groups speaking against the walkouts are also against ‘gun control’ legislation because they believe everyone has the right to bear arms. While most people agree this is indeed a constitutional right, proponents of legislation argue they are asking for ‘gun control,’ not ‘gun bans’ and not a repeal of the 2nd amendment. They argue that they just want to make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.

This debate will continue into the future, with more walkouts planned, including a 17 minute nationwide student walkout to take place on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine School shootings. Protests are also planned across the country, including in Washington, DC, for March 24.

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “MV stands with MSD”

  1. Buyviagra on March 14th, 2018 7:34 pm

    Think about what it is like to be a parent of a child at school these days. Every time we hear of another tragic shooting at another American school, our fear and anxiety goes up another notch. And we ask ourselves, “can it happen here, on little, peaceful, Orcas island? And, unfortunately, the answer is always yes, these days. All it takes is someone with access to a gun, and with something to “proveAnd I can do nothing about it. I have no idea who has guns here, on the island. No idea if these guns are even under lock and key. How can we, as a people, accept this situation as “normal? And, yet, thanks to gutless politicians (I”m looking at you, especially, Republicans!), who are voted into office by we, the People, this insane situation not only continues, but flourishes! How can any parent in this country not value their children”s safety over the insane desire to possess such deadly weapons, like automatic rifles? And, make no mistake, it is the ready availability of such guns that allows the continuing American tragedy of these mass shootings. In every other country, where more strict gun control laws have been initiated, mass shootings have all but disappeared. Our daughter at Orcas High School will be participating in the Walkout on Wednesday, with our full support. This is their effort, their chance to try to make a difference. So, what are the adults in our community going to do to make a difference, to change this awful reality?

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