Harbinger

Students Say #ENOUGH in MHS Solidarity Walk Out

Kaylyn Jones

Asiana Flordelis, Staff Writer

On March 14, students in schools all around the nation, including our very own Manchester High School, participated in an organized walkout to draw attention to the rising gun violence issues and school shootings in America.

Last month,  17 lives were lost in a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The shooting prompted the national walkout.

MHS is just one example of an administration that fully supports and understands their students’ feelings, and is willing to help in any way it can. Interim principal, Mrs. Katelyn Miner, stated that instead of directing the walkout, she gave the students any support that they needed in organizing the event.

“We’ve been working with students,” Mrs. Miner said.  “I’ve met with student leaders several times, [and] attended the special offering on Friday; we’re really trying to kind of support the work and not lead it ourselves.”

Photo: Asiana Flordelis
From L to R: Maria Machado, Matthew Delaney, & Kaylyn Jones at the MHS solidarity walkout.

Two of the three students that organized the walkout, Paige Tyler and Nina Griffin, both said they were surprised by how much support they received from the school. Tyler said, “Administration, just like us, wants this to not just be a one day event; we want to create a movement dedicated to youth-led change.”

Although they received plenty of support from administration, most MHS students, and even Manchester Mayor Jay Moran, there were debates over the event’s political implications —  and what the point of it all even was.

Paige Tyler said, “Personally, I consider this a political movement. I labeled it ‘apolitical’ and that was a flub I take full responsibility for. This event is inherently political in the nature of the tragedies that sparked it.”

Mrs. Miner labeled the event more as “nonpartisan” or unbiased toward a political group. Meanwhile, student activist Nina Griffin revealed that she did not believe this was a political event, but a “movement of peace and solidarity amongst the MHS community.”

Having different opinions is common in an event as charged and momentous as this one, but rather than a debate they are, in the words of Nina, “starting a conversation in order to make a change.”

The number of students that signed up for our school’s walkout was high, as hundreds of students poured out of MHS doors just before 10 a.m., with the feeling of confidence and determination immediately filling the air. Speeches and poems were freely shared by students, and they were given the respect they rightfully deserved.

The walkout was not intended to be the only stance against gun violence; organizers of the walkout and students are determined to keep the momentum of the event going, and make tangible changes in the future.

“We will also show our youth that their voices are louder than they could ever imagine,” Tyler said. “We want to show students that they can bring change, and their actions are seen and heard and are powerful. Youth so often feel like only adults in positions of power have a voice that matters, and it is time we change that, one school at a time.”

For more information on the event and to see all of the speakers and poets, check out Kaylyn Jones’ video that is linked here (and is also on the MHS Harbinger website).

Photo: Asiana Flordelis

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