Edmond Administrators Use Student Walkout As Teaching Opportunity
EDMOND, Oklahoma - Local students joined thousands across the country, walking out of classrooms Wednesday morning to protest gun violence.
The nationwide protests each lasted 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 victims who were killed exactly one month ago in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Oklahoma City schools are on Spring Break this week, but walkouts took place in Edmond, Moore and Yukon. Administrators in Edmond say the demonstration is a good lesson for the kids. The leadership team there worked with students to make sure they protested the right way; but just like in the real world, they could not participate without consequences.
At 10 a.m. nearly 100 students walked out of their classes at Edmond North High School to raise signs and chant together, calling for stricter gun control laws to protect them.
A few counter-protesting classmates wore Make America Great Again hats and held signs in defense of their rights.
“I think politics are something that divide people, but being passionate about the lives of others is something that unites people, so that’s what I wanted to be out here for,” senior student Keegan Myers said.
Administrators and extra police officers were on hand to make sure the protest remained peaceful.
“It’s showing them that we can have different viewpoints, we can come together and honor people’s lives, but also have different stances on what we believe,” ENHS school principal, Debreon Davis said.
17 minutes away from class is more than the 15 the district allows, so protesting came with a price.
“We still get counted absent and that’s okay,” said junior student Kennedy Denton, “we are willing to take those consequences, but other than that I think they worked with us pretty well.”
The students say they do not want their efforts to be in vain. They hope the voices of kids across the country are heard; sparking legislators to act so school shootings become a thing of the past.
“We’re here to learn and we’re here to encourage and change the world essentially, and we should be safe to do that,” Denton said.
National organizers are working on another student walkout April 20, if lawmakers do not act soon.