Allow Bellmont High School Students to Participate in the National School Walkout
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In the wake of the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students everywhere are left with an enormous feeling of loss and a feeling of indescribable outrage. 17 innocent people were killed by a 19-year-old gunman armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle that he purchased legally, making this high school shooting the deadliest in American history. This is not the only mass shooting in the United States in recent year—it is not even the only one this year. As of February 14, there have been 30 mass shooting in the United States in 2018 alone. There is a mass shooting epidemic in America, and nothing is being done about it. Thoughts and prayers are not enough anymore.
Survivors of the shooting and unaffected students alike are clamoring for change. We are the ones in the line of fire, and the government is not protecting us. In America, mass shootings are routine. In America, school shootings are sad, but not surprising. In America, no action is taken to stop these preventable massacres. Instead, American high school students are just left hopeless and traumatized. Most high school students are not old enough to vote. We do not have a say in who represents us, in who can pass laws that could save the lives of our peers. We cannot vote, we do not have a say, but we are dying. We need a voice.
On Friday April 20th, on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, a National High School student walk out will take place in high schools across the country. This movement began with Lane Murdock's petition on change.org, and is found across social media sites with the hashtag #nationalschoolwalkout and on the twitter account for the movement @schoolwalkoutUs. Protestors will wear orange, the color of the anti-gun violence movement, and exit their classroom at 10 a.m. in their respective time zones to peacefully protest outside of their schools for the rest of the day.
If unapproved by the school, this protest would be considered truancy according to the handbook. Punishments for a first offense truancy include two consecutive Thursday Night Schools and a level on the Discipline Steps, which, because truancy is defined as category III offense, could result in any additional disciplinary action up to suspension. If the protest were approved by the school, the protest would be considered an exempt absence, protecting the protestors from any disciplinary action.
We are asking Bellmont High School to approve and allow this protest. We are not asking for endorsement, but merely to be given a voice and the ability to try and make a difference. There is strength in numbers, and we wish to join the ranks of American students pushing to create a brighter future. The protest, with its clear goal being to make high schools a safer place, would not be without its educational merits. Protesting is a fundamental American belief, but few students have had the chance to participate or see one in action. Giving students the opportunity to be civic leaders would prepare them for a lifetime of good citizenship. The protest would also open important dialogue about gun safety. Protesting reflects drastically different values that casual truancy, so we hope that the school is willing to recognize that and defer any disciplinary action. We are willing to work with administration and make compromises when necessary to make this happen.
Sign this petition to show your support for this protest. This petition will be used in negotiations with school administration for permission to protest. If you are a Bellmont student, please leave a comment with your name and anything you would like administration to hear.
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