Across Shelby County Thursday, students walked out, stood up, and spoke their minds against school violence.
At 1:00 p.m., SCS students stepped out of their classrooms and demanded new action for safer schools.
Student leaders at Cordova High School, and others across SCS, said this isn’t the end, but the beginning as they hope to transform these demonstrations into detailed school safety policy changes.
“I’m really proud of my school,” said Cordova junior Lilliam Redondo.
“We walked out of school for a purpose,” said Cordova senior Essence Jones.
Thursday’s walkout at Cordova and other SCS schools is largely in response to the February Florida high school massacre, and the energized student activist response. These teenagers want more secure and stronger schools, and they want it now.
“Our big motive for this was to leave something at Cordova,” said Cordova senior Nyshari Bacchus.
It was also a call to action Thursday afternoon at Ridgeway High School and White Station High School.
“We are trying to make a difference,” said White Station freshman Anryah Reynolds. “It’s not like we are just sitting down and ignoring it. We want the violence to stop and this is our way of showing it.”
Those who demonstrated Thursday said the Florida shooting rattled them, but also inspired them. They say activism no longer an option, but an obligation.
“It was definitely weird. The next day you are at school. You’re alive and they are not,” said Reynolds.
The student leaders say this walkout is just the first step. They say they will create a comprehensive list of safety recommendations and present that to the SCS school board next week.
“That was the sole purpose, to get recommendations, to get people talking, to get people excited about using their voice and I think we’ve done that today,” said Ridgeway junior Mallori King.
These children promised to hold the adults accountable, even those skeptical of such walkout demonstrations.
“To them, it could be a waste of time,” said Redondo. “To us, it’s our first step for younger generations to have a better future.”
SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson and other SCS leaders supported the demonstrations and met with student reps in recent weeks to make sure the walkouts went safely and smoothly.
Similar walkout demonstrations will be held Friday at other area districts, including Germantown, as well as across the nation, to coincide with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine School Massacre.
Thursday, Germantown High students released a public service announcement fighting for change to gun laws. The students tell us they want to spread the awareness on the subject and the dangers of having an assault rifle.
They say they want this to get national attention, not only to alert Congress to act on this issue, but also to inspire other students to fight for what is right and to voice their opinions.