Students of District 622 walk out during nationwide protest


Aundrea Kinney photo/Review • North High School students walked out of class March 14 as part of a national protest against school shootings. Above,

Aundrea Kinney photo/Review • North sophomore Olivia said she and the other protesters are asking for more protection from legislators who so far have only offered condolences not action over the lives lost in school shootings.

Aundrea Kinney photo/Review • Promise, a North High School junior pictured at middle, said during the protest “I believe that school shooting isn’t right, and we should be living and some of us aren’t, and that’s not right.” Tania, a North High School junior pictured at left, said, “It’s not fair that other people are losing their lives.” Their friend, Annick, also joined the protest, pictured right.

Aundrea Kinney photo/Review • North High School students tied ribbons and signs to the chain link fence on part of the school property to show support for the protest.

Many students from North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District participated in a National School Walkout protest the morning of March 14, including students from North High School, Tartan High School, Maplewood Middle School, Skyview Middle School and John Glenn Middle School.

Students filed out of the school buildings at 10 a.m. and shared 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 students killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

Riley, a sophomore at North High School who helped organize the protest at her school, said the goal of the protest was to end school violence, and although collectively the protesters were not advocating for any particular law to be made, they each had their own ideas on how their goal could be achieved.

Sabrina, another sophomore organizer added, “In my personal opinion, not speaking for anyone else, gun control is the main thing for me.”

Sabrina said she stepped up to organize the protest because change needs to happen and if the students don’t say something, nobody will.

“We’re tired of coming to school and being scared that something’s going to happen,” she said.

Riley added that with regards to school shootings, “It’s the same cycle over and over again, and nothing’s being done.”

This was the first time Riley or Sabrina have organized a protest, and Riley added, “This is the first time anything like this has happened at North.”

Hundreds of District 622 students participated in the protest, but for some, it was a difficult choice. District 622 treated the students’ absence from class as it would any other unexcused absence, by not allowing the students to participate in extracurricular activities that day.

“Our district respects free speech but does not support or endorse the walkout,” said Josh Anderson, the district’s director of communication.

He explained that the district’s plan for handling the protest was conveyed in a letter to parents before the event. 

Anderson said, “Our top priority is to ensure a safe environment for all.”


 

– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com

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