Students participate in protest of gun violence

Led by the Game Changers, Ritenour students walk out to promote school safety

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Students participate in protest of gun violence

Martin Trujillo

Martin Trujillo

Martin Trujillo

Bailey Stock, Production Editor in Chief

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This afternoon approximately 350-400 Ritenour High School students participated in the National Walkout against gun violence on the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in 1999.

During this walkout, Game Changers, a Ritenour organization created to educate and promote social issues, put together an agenda solely based on school shootings, specifically the shooting that occured in Parkland, Fl on Feb. 14.  

As students walked out of school and approached the football field at 10 am, they first saw the Game Changers standing in a straight line with posters representing each victim from the Parkland shooting.

When the students continued to walk toward the field, they were instructed to take a seat on the bleachers and face the track where the Game Changers were holding their rally against gun violence.

First, senior Cheyenne Nichols gave a speech introducing the purpose of the protest. In her speech, she mentioned not wanting to necessarily take away guns from citizens, but making laws that completely took away any possibility of a future school shooting.

Next, freshman Kayla Baker read a poem that voiced her opinion on the gun control issue. During the poem, she spoke about the struggles of being a teenager and the additional stress that active shooter drills have on the lives of teens.

After the poem, junior Lena Thai, a member of the Game Changers, began a moment of silence. As the student body in the bleachers remained silent, Thai read off the names of every victim from the Parkland shooting. As she said each name, a balloon was let go to memorialize them.

“Reading off the names of the Parkland victims was an unexpectedly emotional feeling for me because I had to watch videos of news stories after the event to learn how to pronounce their names and learn about who they were. As students listened to me read off the names, I think it was a reminder for them that school shootings are real,” Thai said.

When the moment of silence concluded, senior Reese Sherman led the student body in chants she had learned from the March for Our Lives protest in March.

“I think the protest today signifies the unity of our school and how unbelievably important this conversation is to have. Guns are real, school shootings are real. And the fact that a group of students, with the support of staff and administrators, were able to organize a protest to speak out towards gun control only speaks to the strength of our Ritenour Community. We hope that community leaders and our government sees our community effort and makes a change as well,” Thai said.

*editor’s note – the word control was inadvertently placed instead of violence in the first sentence.  It has been edited to show its correct intent.

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