Na­tional School Walk­out

1,800 Ca­toosa County stu­dents par­tic­i­pate

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ta­mara Wolk

More than 1,800 stu­dents in Ca­toosa County mid­dle and high schools walked out of class on March 14, join­ing thou­sands more na­tion­wide, to show­case the need for safer schools.

While much of the me­dia across the coun­try dubbed the na­tional walk­out a protest against gun vi­o­lence, stu­dents at Her­itage High School (HHS) showed it could be some­thing more than that.

HHS Prin­ci­pal Ron­nie Brad­ford says that a few weeks be­fore the event, Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent De­nia Reese gave prin­ci­pals a heads-up on the event. The prin­ci­pals met to dis­cuss ways to han­dle things if stu­dents wished to par­tic­i­pate, but it was left up to the stu­dents to ini­ti­ate par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“A ninth-grade stu­dent, Christina New­port, came to me,” says Brad­ford, “and asked if stu­dents would get in trou­ble if they took part in a walk­out.”

Brad­ford sug­gested that Christina take the is­sue to the Stu­dent Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (SGA). She did, and the group en­gaged in some se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tions about what their pur­pose would be in or­ga­niz­ing a walk­out at their school.

“We wanted to do some­thing that wasn’t po­lit­i­cally charged,” says Han­nah Col­ston, an HHS se­nior and pres­i­dent of the SGA. “We wanted to bring peo­ple to­gether, not di­vide them.” To that end, the stu­dents ti­tled the event “In­spire Change.”

“They chose to steer clear of the gun con­trol is­sue,” says Brad­ford, “and fo­cus on things any­one could do, in­clud­ing them­selves.”

“Stu­dents from the graphic de­sign pro­gram made posters for the event,” says Han­nah. “There were also hand­made posters and we spread word on so­cial me­dia.”

Around 200 Her­itage High School stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in the March 14 na­tion­wide school walk­out to pro­mote safer schools. (Photo cour­tesy of Michelle Petteys, HHS)

Her­itage High stu­dent speak­ers shared thoughts and ideas for mak­ing schools safer at the 17-minute school walk­out on March 14. (Photo cour­tesy of Michelle Petteys, HHS)

Han­nah Col­ston, pres­i­dent of the Her­itage High School Stu­dent Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, helped or­ga­nize the March 14 stu­dent walk­out for safer schools. (Photo cour­tesy of Michelle Petteys, HHS)

Above: “In­spire Change” was the theme Her­itage High School stu­dents chose for their March 14 school safety walk­out. Right: More than 1,800 Ca­toosa County stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in the na­tion­wide March 14 school walk­out day, in­clud­ing 200 from Her­itage...

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