Facing Opposition from the Community

Allie's Thoughts on the School Walkout

Allie Hundt, Copy/Communications Editor

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Students from our school used the school walkout March 14 to boldly express their opinions on the most recent shooting in Florida. Most students who walked did so to support the victims and speak out against gun violence.

April 20 is a date that represents many things, but most prominently, the second national school walkout is to take place. Friday will be the 19th anniversary of the Columbine Massacre. Now, I will clearly state the purpose of this walkout courtesy of senior Ebony Belt: to hold elected officials accountable, to promote solutions to gun violence and to demystify and engage students in the political system.

Of course, some of these students might be in favor of gun control, but this walkout is not just another attempt to take your guns away. These students are not solely blaming guns for killing people either. There is an issue in our nation, and these student activists strive for a solution. Most high school students are not old enough to vote. Therefore, this walkout allows young people to be heard nationally.

In the conservative town of Glenwood, Iowa, it is hard for any student to express an opinion that doesn’t originate from the right side. These students aren’t just “skipping class.” By participating, kids are able to feel a part of a movement that has the potential to make a big difference.

Nevertheless, I agree that the March 14 walkout was a disruption. My learning, however, was mostly disrupted by the negative comments made about the walkout rather than the walkout itself. Students peacefully and quietly left their classes while the school immediately erupted with negativity aimed toward those who walked out. I didn’t even participate, but I was appalled by the things I heard around the school that day. I was angry that anyone could be so against a viewpoint that they would put down their classmates in such a harmful way. I wish our town was more accepting of different opinions.

I would like to point out the fact that if we lived in a different community, kids would be mostly applauded for expressing their opinions, not shut down by the entire town.  I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes for the next two days because all I heard in the hallways and in my classes were negative remarks about the walkout.

Even adults and parents got on the Internet and started bashing the kids for walking out. I am unsure of the reasons for wanting to attack a high school student for his/her political views, but it’s kind of annoying. Should these kids apologize for having an opinion different from yours? Or should they just be quiet? Did this walkout really disrupt your child’s learning? Or was your child the one who caused the disruption with his/her loud and obnoxious insults?

To be clear, I understand that the school administration is responsible for taking whatever matters necessary to prevent a disruption in student learning. Principal Hutchinson seems to be prepared for anything, and punishments will be handed out accordingly. “A lot of it just depends on how much it disrupts our environment,” said Hutchinson. “I have no problem with protest. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to voice your opinion and protest, but sometimes with those things come consequences.”

Hutchinson also mentioned that the end goal isn’t to tell students that if they walk out, certain strict punishments will be enforced. It all depends on the severity of the disruption and how students handle it. I am hopeful that this walkout will be handled better than the last.

In all honesty, I am intrigued by this event occurring in our calm town. I was interested in all of the different reactions it provoked, but the negative words made me upset. I couldn’t care less that you love guns. I know that 99.9 percent of the time, a political opinion cannot simply be changed with viewpoints from the other side, but I just cannot fathom the reasoning behind putting someone down for having a different view than your own, and this kind of behavior takes place all across the world with people from all kinds of different backgrounds. This situation could have been more civil, but it wasn’t. I wish that the people who were against the walkout would have voiced their opinions in a way that was less harmful. I am hoping that the students who walk out on Friday will not be criticized by their classmates, but I know that is unlikely.