The Walkout That Wasn’t Really, originally published on Thornton-Donovan School’s ‘Overlook Journal’, expresses sophomore Grace Kelly Kretzmer’s disappointment with the school and some of its students over how they handled such a solemn event.
Personally, I couldn’t be prouder of Grace and her peers for speaking up about an issue they believe in. I can say that when I was their age, I was not as civically conscious, and this concern shows all the character and maturity that distinguish my students from others. They truly will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Here are Grace’s words:
On March 14, the majority of Thornton-Donovan School’s student body met outside to protest gun violence and honor the 17 students who lost their lives in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
“The walkout showed that students at T-D have a fighting spirit, and they deserve further outlines for expression, even those pertaining to issues specific to our school,” said sophomore Jordan Mallach.
However, this is a positive spin. In reality, when asked by multiple teachers, friends, and parents how the walkout went, there was definitely a huge hesitation before answering. The walkout itself was more of a “walk-around,” meaning walking around campus for twelve minutes. Worse, speeches were rushed and cut off before we hit the seventeen-minute mark. Honestly, I’m disappointed with how we handled the subject matter and the walkout itself.
“They should have given us at least a period to do this properly. We would have walked out of T-D and then we could come back and have students speak up,” freshman Mila Mabhongo said.
Participating in huge movements like March for Our Lives and the National School Walkouts should be something I should be proud of, not embarrassed by. It is not a privilege to protest, it’s a right and I’m not sure if that was clear.
“T-D’s walkout definitely could have been organized in a way that would have given more effective message. For one, I think many can agree that it wasn’t a walkout, as nobody left the inside of our campus,” sophomore Antonea Rufa said. “The bare minimum we could have done was walk the 17 minutes; however, we did not even achieve that. Many schools did much more than walk for 17 minutes, and I definitely think that our school should have done more to commemorate the 17 lives we lost.”
Personally, I think we could’ve done so much better. Could some of the students been more supportive and respective? Yes. Could more have made signs and worn orange? Yes. Those things we, the students, should’ve done. It’s a shame to say some students only participated in the walkout to get out of 17 minutes of their second period class and socialize with their friends. While those people complained about being hungry and bored, the students who were one hundred percent dedicated to marching and standing up for the greater good weren’t able to fully enjoy the walkout and its purpose.
But could administration let us walk for the full seventeen minutes? Yes. By walking for only 12 minutes, are we placing a higher value on those 12 lives over the remaining five lives that we didn’t walk for? It seems like it. Was getting back to homeroom and then second period more important than addressing this serious, real topic that is scary and should be mentioned? No. I was back in homeroom by 10:17, and back in second period by 10:18, not 10:20 like planned in the memo. The walkout was treated as if it was a privilege over a right. It felt as if the school was doing the students a favor by letting them participate.
With a serious movement like this, students need support from their teachers and school, which is something we only got from a select few teachers. I can only hope that for April 20th’s walkout, held on the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, we are more organized and committed, and that we gain more support from the school.