Several schools in Northeast Ohio warned of consequences if students participated in today’s walkout against gun violence. But as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, some districts unofficially sanctioned the protests.
The Stow-Munroe Falls school board held an emergency meeting this week to recommend that students stay in class during the walkout, which was both to demand action on gun violence and to remember the 17 students murdered last month at a school in Parkland, Florida.
Megan Schinker came outside -- by herself -- at the scheduled time of 10 a.m., and says she hopes the walkout spurs elected officials to take action on some level.
“Hopefully, school officials and city council will do something about it and that will help compel other districts to do the same. And hopefully we can get this to a state – or even national – level of awareness.”
An hour later, freshman Kaitlyn Kriska was part of a larger group that walked out.
“It was just insane to see the sea of people that came out. We were expecting maybe 50 to 100 people and we got over 400, which was crazy.”
Kiska worked with senior Jacy Guider to organize the event and pass out orange buttons.
“There were a lot of students – we passed out flyers or buttons – and they would just tell us, ‘No we don’t want one.’ And we respected their opinion of not wanting to participate. There were also some people that tweeted at us things like, ‘This is pointless,’ and that’s OK. That’s their opinion [and] it’s their right to have one. We just felt like we needed to do something, so we did.”
Principal Jeffrey Hartmann attended the walkout in a supervisory role, and says he’s “pleased that it came off smoothly.” Several administrators and school board members also attended.
At Kent Roosevelt
A few minutes away, at Kent Roosevelt High School, retired attorney and Vietnam vet Rick Steinle stood across the street with a sign reading “NRA Stop Killing Our Kids.” He says protests are sometimes the only way to get results.
“It seems to never end. The only reason this country got out of Vietnam was the protests. Especially of Vietnam veterans who came back, like me, and said, ‘this is madness. This has got to stop.’”