Following the Parkland shooting in Florida on February 14, where 17 people lost their lives, there has been an uproar not only from the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but from all over the nation. Students from many different high schools plan to walk out of their schools on March 14 to commemorate the students lost in school shootings, including students from Grayslake Central and Grayslake North.
On the day of the walkout, GCHS students can begin to walk to the field house at 9:52 a.m., with the event officially starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 10:17 a.m.–the seventeen minutes represent the seventeen people who died in the Parkland shooting. Once on the field, senior and walkout board member Ryan Lake will give a speech and senior and walkout board member Morgan Cater will read a poem to commemorate the students lost in Parkland, Florida.
For those who are interested, red ribbons will be distributed at exits by volunteers before the walkout to represent physical solidarity. During the walkout, there will also be a six minute lie down to commemorate the six minutes the students in Parkland, Florida experienced while in lockdown during the shooting.
In a statement issued by superintendent Mikkel Storaasli, the D127 administration expressed support for the students who wish to take part in the walkout and also for those who will not. He also noted that teachers will continue to teach as if it were part of a regular late start schedule for those who are not participating.
“It was nice to hear that Landry and the other administrators support it because that allows to have the entire school involved,” said Lake. Although the Grayslake Central walk out remains a student-led initiative, the instrumental support of administrators like principal Dan Landry helped connect interested students with senator Melinda Bush and state representative Sam Yingling, who also expressed their support.
In the statements issued by Dr. Storaasli and the walkout board, it is clear the purpose of the walkout is not meant to be politically divisive, rather to mourn the students lost and to raise awareness on the issue of school safety.
“It think its a bipartisan idea to not have people dying…we are not advocating for a certain solution,” said Lake. “We are just saying that there needs to be a discussion on possible solutions in the future.”
School shootings are becoming more common ever since the Columbine shooting in 1999. The USA Today estimates that there have been more than 200 school shootings since Columbine.
“Statistically stuff like this has been happening over and over, and if the government isn’t really making a change than we have to be the change we want to see, so students are coming together because it affects us directly,” said Carter. “Too many students have been lost the same exact way, so we are doing what we can to change that.”
UPDATED: The article previously stated that the students would be meeting on the athletic field. The administration changed this location to the field house on 3/13/18.