It was far from business as usual this past Wednesday, March 14 at Oakdale Junior and Senior high schools, but it was far from disruptive all the same.
It’s been reported that tens of thousands of students participated in the national walk out protest speaking out against gun violence in schools. A total of 140 students between the two local campuses chose to be active participants, leaving their classes at 10 a.m. and observing 17 minutes of silence. The allotted time was in honor of the 17 victims who lost their lives in the Florida high school shooting in mid-February.
“Our kids are to be commended for the way they handled the protest,” Superintendent of Schools, Marc Malone said of the participants. “I thought they paid homage to the victims of the shooting in Florida in a very classy way.”
Malone also shared there were no issues or disciplinary action taken against the 140 students. He noted that each behaved in a peaceful and respectful manner, returning promptly to their classes at the end of the 17 minutes.
The superintendent stated he felt it’s time to realize this is an issue.
“We all need to come to the table,” he said. “Kids and staff are going to school and getting shot, that’s not okay.
“We’ve got to have a realization that these tragedies, these acts of cowardice, they’re not going away,” he continued. “Because they’re not going away we’re going to need to come to the table with some very real options on how to address these straight up acts of terrorism.”
As for the walk out, Malone said he felt it was important for students to see that they not only have a voice, but are able to protest peacefully. During the 17 minutes, many of the teachers used it as opportunity to discuss school shootings, as well as peaceful protest with their students.
“I think there’s room in the educational setting for us to have conversations about that as well,” Malone stated.