Thousands of students walked out of their classrooms Wednesday, protesting gun violence and calling for increased gun control in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.
The protests were met with much criticism from those who argued the “National Walkout Day” protest was largely orchestrated by left-leaning groups, including the media and Democrat politicians.
Others pointed out that alternative viewpoints were not welcome during these protests, as evidenced by a student in Minnesota who was escorted off campus by his principal for holding a sign that read “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
Anti-gun school walkouts put public education’s leftist propaganda on full display https://t.co/8sEQDtDGAR
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) March 15, 2018
While walkouts were the norm across the country, one school in western New York state took a different approach.
Rather than march outside for 17 minutes, the students and teachers gathered together for 17 minutes of silence in honor of the students and teachers who lost their lives in Parkland.
Students and teachers also engaged in a conversation about how students can better care for one another and look out for those in need.
“Instead of walking out of school today all of our students in grades 7-12 honored the memory of those lost in the Parkland Fla. shooting by gathering in the auditorium for 17 minutes of silence and a conversation about what we can do to take better care of each other and how to reach out to our fellow students in need,” read a post from the school’s official Facebook page.
“The solution is in this room. We are all Cardinals and we are in this together!”
The response on the school’s Facebook post was overwhelmingly positive.
“This is exactly the right solution for beginning to address the real problems facing school safety!” read one comment.
Administrators and teachers at Randolph Central High School weren’t the only ones who chose listening and understanding over a protest.
One mother, Rachel Penn, wrote a post on Facebook, recounting a conversation she had with her son after he expressed interest in protesting with other students during the walkout.
My son asked if he could walk out in protest today…here’s how the conversation went…
Son: is it ok if I protest on Wednesday?
Me: protest what? Why would you do that?Advertisement - story continues below
Son: protests initiate change; they bring awareness to the issue
Me: yes, like what…
Son: like civil rights; people had to protest for the right to vote, etc (he went on)
Me: that’s true! Protests can be a great catalyst. So what are you protesting?Advertisement - story continues below
Son: gun laws
Me: and what are the current gun laws?
Son: I don’t know, but they need to change
Me: how do you know that if you don’t know what they are? Who makes the gun laws? Whose attention are you trying to get? State, federal, local…?
Son: I don’t know
Me: then no, you may not protest in ignorance. You don’t protest something just bc everyone else is doing it. What is happening in our schools is wrong, and scary, and sad, and yes, some things need to change. But you must educate yourself before you can be an agent of change.
…I’m all about protesting for change, for justice, and being passionate about a cause; I’m not about blindly following the crowd in ignorance…
See her post below:
Although Randolph school chose to forgo a protest, school leadership has engaged in discussions about making schools more safe. According to WBFO, Randolph Schools Superintendent Kaine Kelly is in favor of the school hiring armed security.
“(A)nything we can do to protect our school while we are trying to find this long-term solution, that will also harden the targets so to speak – is welcomed,” Kelly said. “Superintendents statewide have been advocating for years for resources that not only can help improve students mental health, but make our schools safer and we support any effort that will help us with that cause.”
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