#Enough: WHS prepares to walk out

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#Enough: WHS prepares to walk out

Haley Tomasso, R1 News Editor

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Last month in Parkland, FL, 17 students and staff members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were shot and killed by a former student.

The Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group has organized a nationwide student walkout on Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) shooting. In time zones across the U.S, the walkout will last for 17 minutes—one minute for every life taken on this date. At WHS, students are preparing to participate by walking out of the school at 10 a.m., at the beginning of Period 4.

The state Department of Education has issued guidelines regarding the walkout to all schools in New Jersey. Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson describes Westfield’s event as an assembly that memorializes the lives of the 17 victims who were taken in the tragic shooting. The administration has sent out a permission slip to all parents through the parent portal regarding the event, and no students will be pressured to participate.

Those engaging in the event will leave at 10 a.m. and proceed to the softball fields behind the school, where students will be reading a speech and poems, citing the names of the victims from the MSD shooting and observing a moment of silence in their honor.

Senior Linzy Rosen, one of the event’s speakers, represents the many students who want change. “We are hoping to inspire students and help them realize that they can take their future into their own hands,” Rosen said.

WHS Social Studies Teacher Mr. Brett Curtis said, “If you are really someone who is in tune with the issue and you have a genuine idea about it, then I am all for it.” Curtis believes that protesting for one’s beliefs is “healthy,” especially as teenagers.

According to an article from northjersey.com, Gov. Phil Murphy supports the rights of students to protest: “From the absolute ground zero of tragedy in Parkland, look at the way those kids have responded in their extraordinary grief, now around the country and, I’m proud to say, around New Jersey.”

Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan said, “I am glad that student leaders at WHS proactively reached out to Dr. Nelson and are thoughtfully developing a plan to honor the 17 students and staff who were shot in Florida.”

Sophomore Lindsay Sherman is among the many who will be participating in this event. Since the shooting, Sherman has been questioning her safety every day as she walks into WHS. “I’m participating to fight for my safety, my family’s safety and my friends’ safety,” Sherman said.

On its website, Women’s March Youth EMPOWER states, “We want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of us will vote this November and many others will join in 2020.”

The March 14 walkout has been discussed across various social media outlets with the hashtag “#WeCallBS” and “#Enough,” words and phrases from a speech by Emma González, an MSD student, made at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Like González, many students around the world and at WHS won’t stop until their voices are heard.