West walks out for change

Students hold up signs in an effort to change the world and end gun violence.

Samantha Makl, Reporter

Thousands of schools across the country are walking out to honor those who died in the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida and to call for stricter gun laws. Today students at West High School participated in the walkout at 10 a.m. to demonstrate their First Amendment rights.

“I’m doing this to advocate against gun violence, to instill the enlightenment of activism in our peers, to meet and support other students who are passionate about making change in the community and the world,” junior and one of the nine leaders of the walkout Zak Keel said.

At 9:55 a.m., students gathered at the band doors with their signs reading ‘it’s our future, it’s our job’ and ‘I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.’ The walk out was a student-led initiative run by junior and senior leaders who felt that the time was ripe for voices to be heard.

“To be able to move forward, we need to move together,” junior and walkout leader Dani Rietz said. 

Junior and walkout leader Kate Kealey estimates that there were at least 150 students who attended. As the students walked onto the field, they prepared themselves for a  moment of silence to remember the students and teachers who have fallen victims of gun violence in schools. Students also listened to speeches prepared by the walkout leaders.

“It should not be a matter of waiting for the next shooting to happen, but making it the last,” Kealey said in her speech.

Protesters wore orange to unify against gun violence. Student protesters and walk-out leaders gathered in front of the building demanding their voices be heard. Although some may have disagreed with the reasons behind the walk out, student leaders made sure the message sounded loud and clear: ‘change starts now.’

“We are a bunch of teenagers taking responsibility to prevent further acts of gun violence in schools. We are a bunch of teenagers willing to put in the work to find a solution. We are a bunch of teenagers who are going to change the world because change starts with us,” junior and walkout leader Emma Bernick said in her speech.