Grief calls for action


Allyson Bonhaus

PROTEST. The school enforced that there be no political posters, with teachers lining the upper bus ramp to execute the ban. A few students did carry posters during the walkout, carrying such messages as “Am I next?” “We are walking to honor these victims and to finally make sure that this kind of tragedy doesn’t happen again,” said Jennifer Lu, 11.

The walkout said a needed message. But it did not say all that students needed to hear.

I have lived through several news cycles chronicling mass shootings before, but Parkland was different. I saw myself in that school, fearing the steps in the hallway, wondering if I would be hearing a lecture on a revolution or texting my mom for the last time.

This issue should be bipartisan. Tragedy should be bipartisan. Protection for students should be bipartisan.

“When buildings burn down, we rebuild with fire resistant materials. When planes are hijacked, we upgrade our security. But when children are killed in our schools, nothing changes. It’s time we did something about that,” said Leven Carr, 12.

How can legislators say silent when children are dying due to their inaction? How can school administrators tell their students that the protection does not trump the weight of the second amendment with its fabricated meaning?

Personally, I needed to be able to get out of the school, hear about those students who never should have died and honor the lives lost. A lot of other students needed that too.

But it should not have taken a month, a nation’s eye pointing at the issue for it to become part of society’s awareness. The names of the 17 killed should have been read in schools before March 14.

The school should have realized that students were scared, that they started looking at the Hub and Commons as places they could be targeted instead of as learning or social places.

“The education of every kid in America is made null and void when we start to be afraid to go to school. I hope Congress can pass stricter gun control laws so that these weapons don’t continue to fall into the wrong hands,” Carr said.

All of the things said at the walkout should have been said earlier, with the administration leading so that it would be a public announcement recognizing that there is a fear in schools they can only fix by voting.

March 14 was not the day for it. March 14 was supposed to be the day students called out their legislators, who are acting like children not wanting their toys taken away. March 14 was the day for students to make sure tragedies like Parkland never happen again.

The walkout was supposed to be a protest to demand change and protection of students. Instead, the administration censored the students’ need to lobby for protection and checked posters for no political message.

“I understand that they want students to be safe and want what is best for us, but making an announcement about it and basically endorsing it defeats the purpose for the protest,” said Jennifer Lu, 11.

Grief demands action. Students around the nation have grieved for a month, and it is time for their grief-for those lives lost-to mean something.

SHS students lost the opportunity to challenge their government meaningfully; instead, the walkout became an assembly. Students no longer had the option to courageously challenge their local, state, and national governments to demand moral change.

“Protesting with permission isn’t protesting, and that isn’t going to change anything,” Lu said.

The walkout should have been a chance to allow students to be activists, but it became an assembly directed by the administration. Students died while they were supposed to be safe at school with their friends and teachers. Instead, the nation hears the heartbreaking stories without doing anything.