Although there was a lot of discussion about school violence and mass shootings immediately after 17 people were killed and many more injured a month ago at a Parkland, Fla., high school, Marcus Townsend said he believes the talk has lessened as other stories have worked their way into the news cycle.
“I feel like a lot of people let it go,” the Brookfield High School senior said.
More than 100 Brookfield High School students didn’t let it go when they chose to participate in National Walkout Day Wednesday. They honored those who were killed and injured in Parkland; called for an end to the violence; and tried to overcome what they called the desensitization of people brought on by the regularity of school shootings.
“I want to send out the message that we all need to stick together, no matter what’s going on,” said student Donnie Davis. “Whatever your opinion is on gun control, it’s affecting us. We’re the generation it’s affecting. It’s affecting us in schools.”
The students were allowed to hold the event in the gym, and no one left the building, which occurred at other schools.
With Principal Adam Lewis handling technical duties – he operated the public address system – four students read biographies of the 17 people killed in the Parkland shooting; remembered those who were injured; and observed about five minutes of silence during the 17-minute program.
The gym’s scoreboard counted down the time, each minute representing a person killed in Parkland.
“I’m really happy with the turnout, and I’m happy that so many kids came and supported us and supported the people in Parkland and listened to us and all the names we had to say and everything we had to say about them,” Marcus said.
“I feel like we need to show our support to the members down in Florida, and that we need to end all violence spread across the country – it needs to end,” said student Marlaina Marek. “We need to show love and support to all those that were hurt.”
Student Emily Porter said the observance fulfilled her wish to “do something.”
“We put a lot of heart into this, believe it or not, and I’m really happy with it,” she said.
Lewis, who allowed the students to leave in the middle of their classes for the observance, said he could sense the heart the students put into it.
“They came to me first and they asked what could they do,” Lewis said. “I thought this really needed to be something coming from them. I really thought that’s what happened today.
“They just really felt that they wanted to acknowledge this event and bring awareness to it,” he said. “I support that.”