Snider Students Stay In by The Editorial Board
As thousands of other students across the country walked out, Snider students stayed in the classroom while administrators lined the halls ready to scold students who dared enter the hallways. This was while students in New York left school property to march in the streets and those in Washington D.C. collected on Capitol Hill.
Principal Ms. Nicole Chisley asked students to remain silent to demonstrate respect for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. A chime was struck after the name of each victim was announced.
The organizers of this nationwide walkout encouraged students to walk outside for 17 minutes, designating one minute for each victim. The “civic activity” at Snider took only five minutes. After announcements and chimes ended, teachers were instructed to review the rules that help keep students safe from tragedies such as school shootings.
These rules specify that students are not to stand up in the cafeteria unless throwing their trash away or exiting the cafeteria after the bell has dismissed them, students are to remain in their classrooms unless a pass is brought to them, Anthis Career Center students are to remain in their designated area until dismissed, students and teachers are not to prop open external doors and students must enter through door four in the morning and door one after school has begun.
These rules exist so administrators can monitor students and limit the number of people in the hallway. While safety is an important part of a school environment, and needs to be recognized by students and staff so everyone knows what to do in the case of an emergency, safety was not the concern of this national walkout.
The walkout was sparked by the killing of 14 students and three staff members, and the injury of 15 others in Florida on February 14th, 2018. After this tragic event, students and teachers alike said enough is enough. The organizers of the walkout encouraged students to speak up and contact their congressmen in an effort to make gun control laws stricter.
Students across the nation, including those at Snider, wore orange, recently designated the color representing anti-gun violence.
By encouraging students to wear orange, the administration recognized that the organized walk-in was more than remembering the victims in Florida.
Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson met with principals regarding the national walkout, and Fort Wayne Community Schools as a whole decided to stay inside on March 14.
Posters around the school, mounted on Monday and Tuesday, described the plan for students to line the hallways and stand silently for 17 minutes.
The day of this plan; however, students were not allowed in the hallway and were told to stand in their classrooms if they wished to participate in remembering the Florida school shooting victims. The civic activity took approximately ten minutes, five of which were spent telling students rules designed to keep the school safe.
The point of a national walkout was for students to use their voice and peacefully protest and to remember the victims of school shootings, while also encouraging the national government to take action on gun control.
“I thought it was awesome that students wanted to voice their concerns about guns in schools,” Ms. Chisley said. “I was happy that we stayed in, because I knew students would be safe.”
Snider students were asked to remain silent at the same time students in Pennsylvania walked to the White House to peacefully use their voices to make a change.
The actions of the school administration aimed to keep students under the supervision of staff.
Administrators used pieces of paper with the word “in” written on them to tape over posters in the school supporting a walkout.
The twitter account @snider_walkout, created by students, published on February 28, after meeting with Ms. Chisley, that Snider was “supporting a 17 minute walkout on March 14th starting at 10 a.m. Students and teachers alike can line the hallways in memory of the 17 victims in Florida.”
Ms. Chisley met with a student committee of 11 students three times to discuss what Snider would do to remember the Parkland victims.
“I went to the students first,” Ms. Chisley said. “We first planned to line the hallways, but not everybody wanted to participate.”
The school administration was concerned how teachers would supervise both the students in the hallways and those not participating in the walk-in.
“Again, for safety,” Ms. Chisley said, “we decided to stay in classrooms.”
Many students and staff members agree that the announcing of each victim’s name and the chimes were an appropriate way to honor the victims of the Douglas High School shooting, but many students think this was not enough.
Despite the administration discouraging them, a group of approximately 40 students gathered outside at the flagpole to silently remember the Florida victims as originally planned by the Women’s March Youth Empower organizers. One police officer and two administrators stood outside with these students to ensure their safety.
After the conclusion of the civic activity, students were asked to come back inside, but these students stayed outside for a full 17 minutes.
At 10:05 a.m., Ms. Chisley announced the school would honor the victims of Parkland, Florida with chimes over the intercom “per student request.”
The student body appreciated the civic activity and recognized that the school administration supported honoring the students who were killed, but many students felt cheated because they were instructed to stay in the classroom.
“It’s not really a protest if we aren’t walking out,” junior Emma Torres said.
This national walkout was planned as a 17 minute remembrance walk for the victims of the Douglas High School shooting that took place one month earlier.
There is a second national student walkout planned for April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. This walkout is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and continue for the rest of the school day.
Students have already started to plan how they will participate in the next protest for gun control.
“If we are allowed to do something beside stand in the classroom,” junior Julia Jorgensen said, “we can make a big impact.”