Administration reflects on walkout


Allyson Bonhaus

WRITE FAST. Student journalists dictated notes from Principal Doug Mader in the journalism room, room 115. The students had prepared for the press conference by writing questions regarding SHS news for information and/or the administration’s opinion on things happening (or possibly happening) in the SHS community. “Just know that the adults in this building try as hard as possible to make this the best building for you. There are times we miss the mark; we are human, and we are dealing with humans,” Mader said in final remarks on the conference.

  On Thurs., March 22, Principal Doug Mader sat down with the sixth bell journalism class to have a press conference with the students. He was asked questions, which he was not given prior to the event, about topics such as school safety and possible building updates.

  This gave the student journalists a chance to ask about how SHS will change in the coming months and the reaction administration has had to changes already in place. Questions ranged from Mader’s reaction to the walkout to building safety and hygiene.

  Public schools are put in a tricky place when it comes to the walkout, which parts of the SHS community regarded as a political event. Therefore, as SHS is a public school, they are responsible for educating students in a way that reflects community’s values.

  “We are supposed to be all inclusive and open,” Mader said, in regard to public schools.

  This can prove difficult when many people, even those who support the cause for gun control, do not support taking so much time out of the school day. And for those that do not support gun control in the community, they feel like they are not being respected or supported in their community and that their children are not being given a nonpartisan education.

  Hence, there was a dilemma with how to handle the walkout, and the administration’s solution was to censor it in order to create a nonpartisan event in collaboration with student leaders.

  “If we did not keep it collaborative, we would not be able to keep everyone safe,” Mader said.

  Mader expressed his support for the whole student body and is proud of the students who take action for what they believe in. However, he stated that school is not the place for any political agendas.

  “I have mixed emotions about the walkout,” Mader said.

  Criticized from both sides of the isle for how the administration responded to the walkout, Mader believes they did what was best to keep all students safe. Teachers and administrators had to spread out among both the students that walked out and did not, and the only way to ensure that was to collaborate with the event.

  “People have strong feelings about the second amendment and about gun control, and I didn’t want to offend those people,” Mader said.

  Mader tries to keep his own political views unknown, even to his own family, due to his job. As the principal of SHS, he has to keep students safe in their learning environment, especially during emotionally difficult events such as the walkout.