Students deserve respect, not punishment, for walkout

Front entrance to Bristol Eastern High School, Bristol, Connecticut. (Luke Ashworth/YJI)

BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Since the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many high school students have felt outraged by how little their lawmakers are doing to help ease the situation.
Young people are looking for leaders to change gun laws, make schools safer, or just wake up and see that there is a current crisis in the American school system that needs immediate attention.
Due to this lackluster response from society, many teenagers from all around the country are choosing to stand up and speak out in the form of peaceful protests.
On March 14th, there will be a national walkout held in the United States, where many high schoolers will leave class and have a protest on their school grounds.
With students talking about the issue and making plans to partake in the event, many schools administrations have tried to push back.
At Bristol Eastern High School, students felt that administrators were working against participation in the national walkout. They were appalled at talk of possible in-school suspensions for anyone who tried to leave class to participate in the national protest.
Our movement is taking place to try to change school safety, and for students like me to voice our opinions on how safe we truly feel. For people who have spent their whole lives working for the well-being of children and teenagers, you would hope they could turn a blind eye to help sympathize for such a noble cause.
Rather than crack down, it now appears that Bristol school are trying to ease the tensions by allowing a walkout — as long as it happens at a certain time and that we would all “walk-out” into our school’s gymnasium.
For many days now, this has been the biggest buzz in the hallways of Bristol Eastern, as the move by our administration completely undermines what we the students feel and want to do.
Administrators just want to still feel in control while making us think that they are giving us want we want.
This is NOT what we want. We do not want to be forced to sit and be passive while too many teens like us are dying every month in places that they are told are safe.
School administrators should comply with student wishes on this issue, as it affects all of us, and is not something that should be seen as unreasonable.
The national walkout is 10 days away. Only time will tell what happens here in Bristol, Connecticut, and many more high schools around the country.

Luke Ashworth is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

Want to read more? Here are the voices of YJI students worldwide since the Parkland, Florida mass shooting.

We were fine until the fire alarm went off, By Christine O’Hara, Alexandria, Virginia, USA, March 10, 2018

Gun violence is not about one nation, but human lives, By Amber Shakil, Lahore, Pakistan, March 8, 2018

Shootings: Florida students can lead us from apathy, By Garret Reich, Glenwood, Iowa, USA, March 8, 2018

Why won’t Americans put an end to mass shootings? By Alyce Collett, Melbourne, Australia, March 5, 2018

Millenials take aim at guns, by Sean Monteith, Lewiston, Maine, USA, March 4, 2018

I want to be a teacher, but I won’t carry a gun, By Sydney Hallett, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Feb. 27, 2018

Arming teachers might help, By Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan, Singaporem Feb. 25, 2018

Parkland echoes the massacre that ended UK school shootings, By Owen Ferguson, Doune, Scotland, UK, Feb. 23, 2018