Any Need for #Never Again Walkout?

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The #Never Again walkout that occurred at Whitney Young in response to the events of the Parkland shooting involved students chanting phrases including, “all our lives mean nothing if they keep their murder weapons. Never again. Never again. Never again,” “protect kids, not guns,” and “we call bs”.

While the validity of these claims is certainly an issue, that will be addressed in my next article. For background on the events, read my previous article. The issue that is the focus of this article is why the walkout existed in the first place.

Moments of silence, memorials, and fundraisers are typical of schools in response to events like those in Parkland. These events pay respect, allow for remembering lost ones and reflection, and even directly benefit those that are suffering the most. What occurred at Whitney Young was not in the same class as these responses. At Whitney Young there was a walkout. Not something completely because of students but organized by the administration itself, complete with an assembly in the gym in a way that only occurs during pep rallies. Students were designated to stand in front of the crowd, chanting, speaking, even later using megaphones to make all sorts of claims.

This raises the question what the walkout was for and what it is targeted at, as well as what should never again occur and who that message is directed at, along with how any of this actually makes a difference.

According to Merriam Webster, a walkout is, “the action of leaving a meeting or organization as an expression of disapproval.” In this case the students walked out of the school to express their disapproval of the shooting. Why a walkout was needed to express disapproval is a question I cannot answer, but what I do know is that walking out is at the cost of being in class and learning, and at what benefit to the students? What does walking out help them gain? A feeling that they made a difference? But what difference did the walkout even make? Would it make more of a difference if each person at the walkout did something productive like send a letter to a congressman or raise money? Dr. Kenner believes, “students have a right to express their opinion”. Jeff Guo, 18’ explained that “it’s difficult to raise much money at school by just selling food.” Mike Steve, 21’ commented, “I enjoy seeing students caring about an issue so much.

I will explain further the issues with the walkout in my next article on the Beacon website.

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