By: Sebastian Golden
Will you join tomorrow’s walkout?
Picture this: It’s March 14th, 9:20 AM. Students flood out of the building. A crowd forms to listen to the scheduled speakers and their message of feeling secure as a community, and students and teachers express their opinions. The group surrounds the school, holding hands. The circle of students stays together for 17 minutes to pay respect to the 17 students who died in the Parkland, Florida school shooting before dispersing.
This community rally and demonstration is what a group of students at d.tech is organizing to promote school safety. The group consists of senior José Obregon, junior Melina Shapiro, and freshmen Megan Dal Porto and Aiden Appleby. After speeches and holding hands, students will be invited to create political art, write letters to legislators, and learn about the upcoming March 24th protest in San Francisco calling for Congress to enact stricter gun reform.
However, the organizers, administration, and students are clashing over the message of the event. “The main national walkout is on gun reform, but we’re not trying to focus on just guns,” Dal Porto said. “It’s more us coming together and commemorating those who have died in school shootings.” During a meeting on Friday, March 2nd, members of the administration emphasized the need for the school to remain politically neutral, with Montgomery advising the group against inviting elected officials to speak and Intersession Coordinator Wendy Little questioning the use of the word “protest” to describe the event.
In contrast, some students feel it will be inevitable for the demonstration to become political. “The event is not actually addressing what the walkout was initially about,” said senior Ella Rook. “An inherently political issue is going to be de-politicized and made into some vague meaningless notion.” Junior Jessica Baggott agreed. “I don’t actually know whether it’s possible to separate the politics from the walkout,” she said. “If we’re not saying we need gun regulations, I don’t know what the point is.” Dal Porto expressed her own concerns as well: “A lot of people will take it politically, but that’s not what I’m trying to do.” Despite these conflicting beliefs among students and organizers, the overall message, Obregon said, is to let students “express their opinion, but also do something about it.”