The Precedent

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Student activism at school encourages political involvement in young people

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On Apr. 20, 2018, students across the country planned to step up and walk out, continuing the conversation on gun violence that has followed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. At Perry, hundreds of students left their classrooms to voice their opinions for a myriad of reasons, ranging anywhere from frustrations with current gun legislation, continual awareness of mass shootings, and the most prevalent made clear by the 17 minutes of silence observed by all students walking out: to honor the Parkland shooting victims.

This showcase of student activism is inspiring. People our age are taking an active role in politics. Rather than just sitting and watching this unfold, our generation is organizing marches, movements, and walkouts. We have shattered every stereotype as the generation of kids so caught up in their phones to know what is happening in the real world, proving that — like our Vietnam-protesting grandparents — we are still passionate and aware enough to get involved in things that matter. We are rolling our sleeves up, and getting to work for what we believe in.

Walkouts like these are vital. They get students involved on a mass scale, uniting them under a common goal. They allow young people to voice their opinion in a healthy, constructive way, rather than just venting about it on social media. Now, students can actually do something about their complaints, and become apart of the movement for change. Young people are still able to support the causes they believe in, even if they are not yet a part of the voting population. At a school, students can stand arm-and-arm with their peers, safely protesting while causing no harm to anyone else.

Despite the walkout being planned by PHS students, some still believe this walkout will only serve as a destructive disruption.

While there is no denying it will be a disruption, there is no reason it needs to be destructive. The 17 minutes of silence adds a reverence to the demonstration. This is not angry. This is not a chaotic showcase of chanting.This is a peaceful walkout. While it is absolutely sending a political message, and intentionally so, the root and the inspiration behind the walk-out comes from remembering those who have lost their lives at the hands of mass shootings. It is to remember. It is to reflect.

That is why it was scheduled on the anniversary of Columbine. That is why there was 17 minutes set aside. There is so much more to this walkout than just students getting out of class.

Four million 17-year-olds will turn 18 by the next election. These are the students who walked out. These are the ones painting signs and marching and vocalizing their thoughts. These are the students who have the power to change the course of entire elections, and they are coming. They are coming, they are marching, and they are walking out.

By Nov. 2018, they will be voting.

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The student voice of Perry High School
Student activism at school encourages political involvement in young people