Bel Air High School Students Participate in Nationwide Walkout

Cassi Misciagna

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On Wednesday March 14, 2018, the students of Bel Air High school were given a chance to express their feelings on the Parkland shooting by the Bel Air High School administration.

Bel Air High School held a moment of silence as well as a brief discussion throughout second period for the staff and students to express their views on the recent tragedy starting at 9:45 am.  Topics covered in the PowerPoint were the students fears, doubts, and concerns about the recent rise of gun violence as well as the Parkland School shooting which happened a month prior.

In each class, the PowerPoint presented remained the same, however each teacher used their own individual teaching style to enhance the presentation shown in their class. In one class, a group of students expressed their grief for the fallen by standing on their chairs to be closer to the victims of the massacre, while still participating in lesson. In others, teachers let students write on their opinion using the whiteboard in class and personal letters to share with the staff.

Terrance O’Neill, a teacher at Bel Air High School, stated “Talking with the the administration and the directions that we were given with the lesson, I felt it was important that students could express themselves, and I felt like they were doing it for the right reasons and it was heartfelt.”

The nationwide student walkout was created by EMPOWER, a group devoted to bringing about social and political change, to honor the memories of the 17 youths killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shooting. Nationwide, it gained a following of 3,130 students who gathered outside to mourn the dead, as well as joined in a solemn moment of silence against gun violence as a whole.

Kenjon Fitzgerald, a senior at Bel Air High School, declared, “My opinion was positive as to the valiant courage it took to walk out. I foster a deeper respect for all students who participated.” when asked about the Walkout.

During the week of March 5, Harford County students had been notified by the principals of their respective schools that participating in such an activity was unsafe and hazardous after a letter was sent out by the superintendent. However, Harford County students from John Carroll, Bel Air High School, Fallston High School, and Havre de Grace High school all joined in.

In Bel Air High School, about 40 students participated by leaving their classes for the school’s gym and back entrance of the building.

Bella Jacobs, a Bel Air High School senior stated, “As teenagers and people under 18, we cannot yet vote and create a change in our government, so we should instead be able to voice our opinions in a peaceful and nonviolent way.”

Students who did participate in the walkout were directed to the School’s gymnasium for a brief discussion before gathering once more either outside by the gym or in the back hallway near the gym entrance. Students then gathered one final time in the gym after the 17 minutes of silence before being peacefully dismissed back to class.

Overall, March 14th was a day for the students of  to pay their respects to their fallen fellow students and staff within the passing months Additionally, it was a way for them to voice their feelings on the recent rise in violence in schools, and bring the school together as a whole.  

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