Kutztown School Walkout honors memory of school shooting victims
Student organizers: It’s not a protest, but a memorial for those who died in Parkland, Fla.
Kutztown students silently walked out of class at 10 a.m. on March 14 for the #Enough National School Walkout.
About 100 middle schoolers gathered in the Commons for a student organized School Walkout honoring the memory of the 17 Florida school shooting victims. They read each name, talked about them, had a moment of silence, rang the gong and placed a rose around the American flag for each victim.
Kutztown High School students also organized a School Walkout in the school gym. Read the related story about the high school event by Patriot intern Brady Tucker, a KHS senior.
Students walked out of class but remained inside the school building. After the memorial of about 20 minutes, students then quietly returned to classes.
Kutztown Superintendent George Fiore received numerous inquiries from students about participating in the national movement #Enough National School Walkout that calls for Congress to pass tighter federal gun laws.
“What kids really wanted was to recognize and memorialize the children and staff that passed in that horrible tragedy in Parkland,” said Fiore.
Emphasizing that this is a student organized event, Fiore said students came up with all of the details, created posters, read the names of the victims and led the event themselves.
“This to me speaks about our community, we care about others,” said Fiore. “I know there are other issues associated that are more adult issues. The kids are gravitating to the empathy and sympathy side of it, which I think is indicative of our community. We care about each other and we don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
KMS organizers included 8th graders Elena Sewall, Olivia Wanner, Cooper Dunn, Marnie Derr, and Nicole Angelisanti.
“Rather than a protest, this was to honor these people,” said Sewall.
“We knew that all these people died and we wanted to do something to honor them because this shouldn’t happen in school. We shouldn’t be worried about that,” said Angelisanti.
“We should feel safe at school,” added Wanner.
“The statement we’re trying to make is we wanted to have people show respect to those 17 who died but also bring (to their attention) that it’s 17 people, that’s a lot of people and just because it happened there, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen here. It totally could,” said Sewall. “So getting people aware and to understand is important.”
Quoting the 2nd Amendment that every person has the right to bare arms in a well-regulated militia, Sewall said, “We wanted to honor those people who died because the 2nd Amendment is not well regulated.”
Sewall said they want to show support to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
“If it were to ever happen to us, we’d want them to support us,” said Sewall.
“School shouldn’t be a dangerous place for us to go,” said Angelisanti. “We shouldn’t be worried about coming to school. We shouldn’t have to worry about saying goodbye to our parents everyday if that’s our actual goodbye. We shouldn’t have to worry about that.”
“We need to be positive and share our views and be open but also figure out what’s appropriate and what’s not,” said Sewall.
They were pleased with the number of students who participated in the School Walkout.
“They were so quiet,” said Sewall. “Each minute is for a victim so you wanted to think about that victim for a minute.”
“Being quiet is very powerful,” said Wanner. “It can do a lot.”
“It makes the biggest impression on people,” said Angelisanti. “When we rang the gong and said their names and we talked about them, if people were talking it wouldn’t have made as big of an impression.”
“We were trying to tell them about who these people were so they could relate to them and think about them in their own lives,” said Sewall.
“We need to know that we’re all the same and it could happen to anyone,” said Angelisanti.
They also encourage students to make a difference through kindness.
“Just helping others, congratulating them or boosting their energy. Just have an environment that’s well rounded and good,” said Wanner.
“If we see a student is struggling, we can’t just ignore them. We need to help them out and boost their confidence and just make them feel welcome in school,” said Angelisanti.
“I’m really proud of our students for stepping forward and doing something that they believe in,” said KMS Principal James Brown. “They’re handling it in a non-political way and they’re making a statement, that they really think that students should be protected when they’re going to school.”
Brown said the students are making a very important statement about student safety in our nation.
“It’s something we really need to think about,” said Brown.
Peace. Love. Kutztown. sponsored the Kutztown School Walkouts. Founded by Kutztown Middle School teacher Beth M. Patten, Peace. Love. Kutztown. is a community organization that fosters community unity through education, respect, and dialogue and aims to stop hate and address bullying.
“As a community organization we are honored to support our students that are expressing their rights and their voice to stand up for what they believe in,” said Patten. “As a an educator I am profoundly invigorated by our students willingness to create change in our world.”
Kutztown students silently walked out of class at 10 a.m. on March 14 for the #Enough National School Walkout. Middle schoolers organized a School Walkout memorial. They talked about the victims had a moment of silence, and placed a rose around the...
Kutztown Middle School students organized a School Walkout that encouraged students to silently walk out of class at 10 a.m. on March 14 for the #Enough National School Walkout. Middle schoolers talked about the Florida school shooting victims, had a...
Kutztown students placed a rose around the American flag for each Florida school shooting victim.