Hundreds of Trojans join nationwide safety protest


March 14, 2018, 10:00 AM: More than 300 Cary-Grove students join the rest the country in a nationwide protest, walking out of school to raise awareness for school safety and gun violence, and to honor those who have been victims of school shootings.

It has been exactly a month since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, one of the world’s deadliest school shootings. It has been nearly 20 years since Columbine.

When the idea of multiple school walkouts first emerged, several students took the matter to the principal’s office. Last week, Cary-Grove’s administration addressed the possible walkout in students’ gym classes. They explained to the students that they could feel free to participate, and that it would not come with any consequences.

While the school could not technically support the protest or the reasons behind it, it was comforting to know that they respect students’ rights to voice their beliefs. It was also quite refreshing in comparison to other schools in the area that made it clear students would be punished if they participated.

Each walkout was different; some were rallies, some were part fundraiser, and some had students give speeches. At Cary-Grove, students stood in a circle in solemn solidarity, holding hands. Several parents stood across the street, supporting the students in protest.

At first, it all had an air of uncertainty. For many, it felt wrong to just walk out of class while a teacher was talking, or while conducting a lab in science, or while taking a quiz. But once one student stood up, others followed, and walked down the halls to the front of the school. It was interesting to see the administration already there, holding the doors open.

As 10:00 approached, what was a jumbled mess of noisy walkout participants became a silent, yet powerful group of students. For 17 minutes, each minute honoring a death in the Stoneman Douglas shooting, they stood in the cold to be a part of a something bigger.

Some say that kids participated to miss class. While this could very well be true in some cases, most were respectful and seemed to take it seriously. No one in their right mind would brave 20-degree weather to miss 17 minutes of class, especially those without a coat.

Others say that school walkouts won’t make a difference in the long run. However, they have shown their influence already. They are in the news, on the radio, on TV, and everywhere on the Internet. You can barely scroll through your feed on Facebook or Instagram without seeing something that mentions the school walkouts.

Students didn’t expect instant change. They know things often happen over time. These school walkouts are meant to take a stand against gun violence, whether it be in a high school or on the streets of Chicago. It is only the beginning of a movement, and it is certainly not the end.