MSD STRONG, NEWS, OUR STORY, POLITICS & ACTIVISM — March 14, 2018 at 9:18 am

[Multimedia] National school walkout marks the start of change

Deerfield Beach High School supports MSD on National Walkout Day. Photo courtesy of Hannah Harris

March 14, 2018 marked the one-month anniversary of the tragedy that struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the families of the 17 victims. To honor the beloved Eagles, MSD participated in the National Walkout Day by walking to the football field for 17 minutes.

On the field, nearly the entire student body participated by congregating in the Cumber Stadium, utilizing the bleachers along with the inner field itself. Parents, Westglades Middle School students and media crews observed from the perimeters of the field beyond the enclosed fences.

In the 17 minutes outside, Principal Ty Thompson spoke to the thousands of students and teachers, with students creating a circle around him. He spoke of how he was proud of students invoking change in the community, the state and the nation.

After Thompson’s speech, MSD Drama Club’s song “Shine” played through the speakers while students stood in a circle, hugging, crying and remembering the tragedy that occurred on Valentine’s Day.

Thompson called all students for one giant group hug at the end of the song, physically uniting MSD students and teachers.

After the 17 minutes on the field passed, students were instructed to go back to class. However, hundreds of students left through the front gates of the school to take the national walkout further to Pine Trails Park, which is approximately 1.8 miles away.

“For 17 people that died, we didn’t feel like the football field was enough. We didn’t do the 17 minutes of silence,” sophomore Valeria Hernandez said. “If multiple schools like Boca Raton can walk all the way to our school, I feel like we can do what is necessary and walk to Pine Trails.”

Police officers blocked Holmberg Road and directed traffic around the perimeters of the school in order to ensure the safety of the students who peacefully protested for common-sense gun laws. MSD students were met by Westglades students who also decided to walkout, along with parents and media, ready to pull students aside to interview and make coverage for the world to see.

“There’s change coming,” senior David Hogg said. “Is it going to be easy? No. Is anything that’s worth having easy? No. Do we care? No. All we care about are these children’s lives. We don’t care if you’re Democrat; we don’t care if you’re Republican. We just want to save lives and speak up for those 17 individuals because they no longer can.”

At the park, survivors from the freshman building and outspoken Westglades students gave speeches to the crowd among others, thanking and encouraging students and families near and far for their courage over the past month, as well as supporting the efforts made so far for changes in legislation. One of the speakers was junior Hayley Siegel, who had relationships with several of the 17 victims.

“We’re one big community, and we’re making a movement. We need to make a change because if we don’t come out here and do these marches, there’s no change that’s going to be made,” Siegel said.

Although Westglades students were told to return back to classes, many lingered to hear the speeches of survivors and activists. Streams of students continued to fill the front of the Pine Trails Park Amphitheater.

“I just wanted to pay respects to the 17 souls lost on Valentine’s Day,” sixth grader Christian Pappas said.

As students walked back to their destinations, whether it be home or school, the world’s eyes were on the National Walkout Day, with #NationalWalkoutDay trending at the top of Twitter, and celebrities such as Chris Evans and Miley Cyrus using their platforms to support MSD students and schools across the nation.

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Christy is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and an editor for the Eagle Eye. She loves travel, food, puppies, and meeting new people. She is an officer of Mu Alpha Theta, English Honor Society, and Science National Honor Society and aspires to work in the medical field.


  1. Clayton Burns

    MSD students would benefit from more power and more skills.

    Politically, I have two suggestions—one that high school students in South Florida lead the way in asking that the voting age be changed to 16 by Congress and at the state level. It would be effective if there were a South Florida High School Students’ Association to bring such ideas forward.

    Florida needs a Commission on Education at all levels, public and private. There would be no need to wait for the commission to report before making some changes.

    There is quite clearly an issue with critical thinking in South Florida, as reflected at your school in the poor response by some and in the bridge collapse at FIU. This is a common problem: the inability to get traction with critical thinking in life contexts.

    What I recommend is study of Lewis Vaughn’s Concise Guide to Critical Thinking as a beginning text, perhaps for summer school. Vaughn’s full text, Oxford’s The Power of Critical Thinking—coming out in a new edition in August—is approachable and interesting.

    It is wise to do critical thinking with cognition. Bruce Goldstein’s Cognitive Psychology has some excellent chapters, especially “Attention.” I am not aware of a concise guide to this subject that would be effective, but one could be written in South Florida.

    Unfortunately, the linkage between critical thinking and language is often not powerful.

    MSD should make the brilliant app for the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the COBUILD grammar system, especially the COBUILD English Grammar, official for its operations and package critical thinking, cognitive psychology, and applied linguistics in a compelling way.

    It is useful to draw connections to English and History for practical material for critical analysis.

    By solving intractable issues associated with critical thinking, MSD could help the FBI and others.

  2. Joseph G Bialek

    The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Obviously the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard, whereby trained military personnel are entrusted with the defense of this country against domestic enemies. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded.

    The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun or rifle is more than adequate to satisfy these purposes. There is absolutely no need for any U.S. civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these. Accordingly, all handguns, shotguns and rifles must be licensed and registered to the degree necessary to match weapon to owner at the click of a computer key.

    Furthermore, we must guarantee that the mentally ill do not gain access to them under any circumstances. Finally, if we had prohibited the purchase of more sophisticated weapons, several innocent victims would not have died or been harmed at shopping malls, college campuses, congressional meetings, churches and now concerts. We as a country must deal with this issue immediately lest our society fall back to the days when everyone carried a holster.

    Joe Bialek, Cleveland, Ohio

  3. Thank you to the brave youth taking leadership to put an end to this horrific white-on-white murder epidemic in America. It is long past due and it took the youth to fight back. Don’t forget to FOLLOW THE MONEY. The NRA is just a middle man lobbying Congress for the billionaire US GUN MANUFACTURERS. Gun manufacturers are the major profiteers off AR-15 gun sales and all other automatic gun sales. And the gun Manufacturers are the companies who FUND NRA. We must expose and protest these wealthy, deadly gun making corporations who lobby Congress to make sure guns are easily available to every single white male supremacist and angry white male in the country. I also congratulate you for including youth of color in this movement since they too must deal with white on black crime by cops in schools, and cops on the streets, and of course white male supremacists in their churches.

    Pat Gowens, Editor
    Mother Warriors Voice, published by Welfare Warriors

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