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Roughly 800 South Lakes High School Students Participate in Walkout to End Gun Violence

by Fatimah Waseem March 14, 2018 at 11:10 am 142 Comments

(This story was updated at 12:45 p.m. with an official count of the participants).

Roughly 800 South Lakes High School students joined their peers from all over the country for a scheduled 17-minute National School Walkout to End Gun Violence at 10 a.m. today (March 14).

Chanting phrases like “Enough is enough,” “We want change,” and “No more silence, end gun violence,” students gathered in the school’s football stadium for the rally. SLHS student Dora Ahearn-wood repeated the names of the 17 victims in the Parkland shooting in a call-and-response pattern.

A moment of silence followed.

The impetus behind the rally was especially real following a lockdown at SLHS and two other Reston public schools on Friday. Local police determined a report about a student with a gun was false.

“The lockdown was a false alarm and everyone was safe. But we should not have to live in a place where we have to see our friends texting and calling their family, terrified for their lives. We should not have to go to school and experience a lockdown because the presence of an active-shooter on campus is a real possibility. We should not have to live in a country where teenagers can have access to weapons of war,” said SLHS student Sophia Liao.

Others like Zach Schonfeld encouraged students to join survivors of the Parkland shooting in the District for the March for Our Lives. Schonfeld also encouraged students to take their grievances to the ballot box by registering to vote, volunteering for a campaign, call Congressional representatives to push for gun control and raise their voices to declare “enough is enough.”

“Whatever you do, don’t sit out on the sidelines and merely add Parkland to the tragic list that has senselessly killed so many. Next time, it could be us,” he said.

Walkout participants were marked for “cutting class” during the walkout, which fell during the third period class, according to SLHS principal Kim Retzer.

“Like any other school day, our teachers will prepare various learning activities to engage students and we expect our students to participate in their learning process. Should students leave class, teachers will continue with their instruction to all students who remain in the classroom,” Retzer wrote in a statement.

Students at other area schools like Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston and Floris Elementary School in Herndon also participated in similar walkouts.

Footage by ABC News linked below mistakenly indicated SLHS students walked off of school grounds. The footage is not from SLHS.

  • Jay

    Some walked out, some didn’t, and I’m proud of them all. It’s this kind of civic activity that makes America great – staying in and going out are choices and actions all the same. Bravo zulu, South Lakes.

    • Donald

      Wholeheartedly agree.

      Donald

    • Mass hypnosis

      That just goes to show that US students prefer politics over education, hard to believe actually.

      • Reston2244

        Politics is part of education. Civic engagement is part of life and should be part of education. Protesting, as the kids are doing, is one form of civic engagement. Whether you like it or not, or would choose to participate yourself, doesn’t matter. That’s the point. It’s our first amendment in action, which these kids are learning in a safe environment. Protests are also how so many issues were brought to a national forefront and changed. Most people only have a problem with such protests, or such education in school, when they don’t agree with the viewpoint.

        • Mass Hypnosis

          “Politics is part of education”

          You are exactly the reason why there are mass shootings in our schools in the first place!

          Also, assuming you re right why is US #38 nationally ranked in math and sciences of about 70 nations’ high schools? Soft skills dont get you anywhere.

          Nobody walks out elsewhere. In Afghanistan they risk a bullet to the head for just going to school, to learn read and write. Maybe you go there and advocate political sciences over real sciences and a pay check.

          Seriously, you sound lost.

          • Reston2244

            Maybe you need to go back to school to learn that being politically active and being well educated are not mutually exclusive.

            People all over the world don’t have access to running water but that doesn’t mean we should just be grateful for any kind of running water. What’s your point? They should just shut up because we don’t live in a war zone or in a country with no rights at all?

            Sounds like it is you who is lost.

            To all the kids of SLHS and other schools – speak your mind, whatever it is. Do it respectfully and peacefully but do speak up. The vast majority of adults will support those rights. Ignore the trolls and those who put you down because they don’t like what you say. Take a lesson from them and don’t stoop to their level. Rise above it.

          • Mass Hypnosis

            Sounds like you re upset. Basically put me down as a troll.
            I guess you re the winner of the argument. And do this is how your agenda gets promoted in the schools, by singling out the free thinkers and elevating group think to the highest platform. Now repeat the mantra 1000x

          • Alex M

            Yes what we really want is to produce drones that will fit neatly into our production machine and not have any thoughts of their own. Stop.

      • guest

        Why does this show that students prefer politics over education? Isn’t the message that they want a safe place to be educated? If a student is misses class to attend the doctor or dentist for an hour do you draw the conclusion they put health before their education?

        Think about the fact that a student’s day is pretty much dictated to them by adults. How they will spend their day in school. What classes they will take. The content of those classes. How many years they will stay in school. What is required for graduation, and what might happen should they want to speak out during a school day.

        Give these students some credit for speaking out and listen to what they have to say. These are our children. The future of this county. They don’t like what is going on and what to see change occur. Help them obtain their goals. They will soon be voting and will be the future of this county.

    • Mike M

      Would you support a walkout in support of the Second Amendment? I woudn’t. Practicing politics during work hours doesn’t fly.

      • Reston2244

        I absolutely would – so long as it’s organized, safe, and respectful like the walkouts today. Again, this IS education and this is life. What better place to learn about it than at school? Or is school solely supposed to be prescribed book reading and assignments in the classroom?

        • Mike M

          And how many issues warrant walkouts?

          • Gregory Toland

            All issues resulting in mass teennage deaths.

          • Mike M

            Interesting. On 9-11 2000 were murdered. Shouldn’t there be a walkout about Islamic extremism? More teenagers are killed every year by alcohol abuse. Walkout? Over-prescription of opioids has been devastating to teens. Walkout. Sorry, but I see the DNC’s narrow agenda at work. Lucky for them they have so many sheep.

      • Jay

        Yes, I would. An education in civics, and the practice thereof, are important to a healthy republic. Further, to the “work hours” non-sequitur, learning to be engaged and thoughtful citizens is their job.
        It’s not as if there is a Hatch Act for secondary school students.

        • Mike M

          So, when is the walkout for 2nd Amendment rights? Do you not realize this was organized by the DNC and overcovered by the media?

          • SLHS Student

            First of all, in light of recent events, most teens feel that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t need a walk out, and second of all, there were a few students there promoting the 2nd Amendment, however the vast majority were opposed. I can promise you right now that the students decided to walk out of their volition and most of my classmates who I have talked to feel very strongly about this issue

          • Alex M

            If you want a 2nd Amendment protest, then organize one. Otherwise stop.

          • Mike M

            So, I have to stage a walkout of high school kids to exercise my First Amendment Rights? Says who? Don’t you see the preposterous in your your statement?

          • Alex M

            No you don’t have to do anything. Organize for the 2nd Amendment… or don’t. Who cares. Whining about other people protesting for what they believe in is pathetic.

          • Mike M

            So, if you don’t like that I disagree with them . . . then it’s whining?
            Truth is I am trying to reach some of them and explain what traditional sources will not say.

          • Alex M

            Not because you disagree with them. What you are doing is trying to deflect from their protest and make it about something else.

            It isn’t about something else.

            Right now they are talking about guns and they are taking a particular stance. You’re free to disagree with them all you want but complaining that they aren’t giving attention to what you want is lame.

          • Mike M

            I am trying to explain that they have been manipulated by a political faction. Just exactly what is their stance? Some say they are honoring the dead. Some say they want tighter gun laws. Other things kill teens in far greater numbers. Calling my views lame is nothing but name calling and THAT is lame.

          • Alex M

            The problem is not your views, it’s that you are trying to deflect from their protest. That’s what is lame.

          • Mike M

            Their protest was an exhibition in self-righteous dupery.

          • SLHS Student

            I am actual baffled by the fact that you are somehow unable to comprehend that teens can have their own opinions. Believe it or not some people do develop original thoughts and opinions. Just because they are similar to a political group doesn’t mean they were “duped”

          • guest

            Why do you feel so compelled to reach them with this information? Maybe they don’t care what groups are providing support but that someone is helping get the word out that they want something to change.

          • Mike M

            Helping to get “the word” out. Whose word?

  • TheRealMikeSapupello

    So proud of these young men & women for doing exactly what they’re told by a bunch of progressive political activists!!!

    • SLHS Student

      “So proud of these young…political activists!!!” There. I fixed it for you.

      • The Constitutionalist

        “I missed the point of his comment completely!!!” There. I fixed it for you.

        • Willie Reston

          Ha ha no, SLHSS clearly got the point. It’s you who doesn’t understand the conversation, not surprisingly.

    • SLHS Parent

      I’m guessing that students who sat silently for 40 minutes in darkened classrooms wondering if someone would shoot them during Friday’s lockdown probably didn’t need “political activists” to tell them why they were participating in the walkout.

      • TheRealMikeSapupello

        Ok, i guess, IF SLHS students – the same who sat silently for 40 minutes in darkened classrooms wondering if someone would shoot them during Friday’s lockdown – organized the walkout all by themselves. But they didn’t. Progressive political activists did it for them.

        Red: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/18/us/national-student-walkout-womens-march-trnd/index.html

        • SLHS Student

          Actually while the Women’s March organizers promoted the walk out, it was created by students to honor those that were killed a month ago today

          • TheRealMikeSapupello

            Aaawww. You’re being used to promote a political agenda and you don’t even realize it. How cute 😉

          • Reston86

            Do you have to be so dismissive? Shows the weakness of your position when you can’t make a decent argument without insulting the opposing side.

          • SLHS Student

            I am actually fully aware that this was meant to promote a political agenda. That’s kind of the point of a walk out. Not really sure how you missed that

        • SLHS Parent

          Sure the date for the walkout was named by others, but the students at SLHS did organize their own walkout. They met with the principal ahead of time to understand school rules and consequences, and spent a great deal of time discussing how to organize to make the walkout meaningful. You must not have any teenagers to think they are dutiful little puppets with someone else pulling their strings! The ones I know are thoughtful, engaged young people who can think for themselves and are concerned about the world they are growing up in.

      • Mike M

        Makes you wonder whence the false alarm. Eh?

    • Jay

      Some protested by walking out, some stayed in. Each action was a civic action. Good for them all.

  • Adam Shubert

    This is how change happens. School leadership, both adult and children, are to commended for encouraging civic activism. From Rep. John Lewis (who knows a thing or two about activism)–“Sometimes you have to get in trouble–good trouble, necessary trouble–to make a way out of no way.”

    • The Constitutionalist

      Is it? I mean, does anything really change when students skip class? The only thing this does is further the divide between both sides, as one side looks at the student walk out an discredits their opinion for whatever reason, and the other side does what you’re doing, cheering for nothing.

      • Reston2244

        Yes, it does change things. My parents skipped school to protest the Vietnam War. Those protests helped bring it to a national level of attention and ultimately, end it. It’s ironic that your user name is the “Constitutionalist” but yet you seem to oppose students exercising their constitutional rights.

        • TheRealMikeSapupello

          You’re giving your parents an extraordinary amount of credit…

        • The Constitutionalist

          LOL. Your parent’s protests did nothing to end the Vietnam war. I’d be willing to bet 10:1 that your parents were probably the same people to spit on the very unfortunate veterans as they returned, as if they had some sort of choice in the matter.

          The only irony is you pointing out my name in regards to constitutional rights when you’re advocating for a protest against the very one below that which they’re practicing.

          • Reston2244

            That’s quite presumptuous. My father was, in fact, drafted, served and still woke up with nightmares even when I was as old as 10. But nice of you of judge him (and my mother) simply because they protested (an act you apparently despise). Those protests did, in fact, help change – I didn’t say the fixed everything. But, jumping to conclusions is all you did in your post.

            You also just proved my point – people being so judgmental about these kids and other protestors are only doing so because they disagree with the content and like to throw insults and try to discourage that disagreement by looking down on them. All the more reason to protest and exercise their rights.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Sorry, this is just all so confusing, I thought you father was, in fact, skipping class to protest the war, I didn’t realize that he could, in fact, be skipping class to protest and also be fighting in the war at the same time. Silly me.

          • Reston2244

            My father was still in high school when the war started and the protests began. He was later drafted after high school. Why is that so hard to understand? You have real issues to try to equate all the Vietnam protestors with the those who spit on the soliders. Many, many were returning soldiers themselves. And the after effects of that war were extremely. But, you know, you know best right? Or is it that you just hate anyone considered “left” or a “protestor” so much you aren’t willing to give them the same respect you would other veterans? I’m happy to discuss issues and respect your views. But the hatred, assumptions and dismissiveness coming from you and others on here are disgusting.

          • Evidently

            Maybe you are talking about your grandparents? Or your father is mighty old to have teens.

          • Reston2244

            I’m in my 40s. Not idea where it was implied I was a teenager. My teenage and young adult kids, yes, their grandparents.

      • Adam Shubert

        That certainly is one way of looking at it, but to say they ‘skip class’ broadly cheapens what the students were and are continuing to do. It is but one of many ways they are calling attention to a very serious matter. You disparage–‘cheering for nothing’–and that is your opinion to which you are entitled.

        • The Constitutionalist

          Skipping class is what they’re doing. Cheapening it or not, that’s the very definition of a walk out. If I, hypothetically, skipped class to go smoke a bowl or get busy in the back seat with the Mrs., I’d still be skipping class, regardless of however expensive those activities have turned out to be.

          • Adam Shubert

            I didn’t say your categorization was inaccurate. The students will indeed receive an unexcused absence for their participation, per county policy. Your analogies illustrate that there is more to their actions than prurient or illegal pursuits.

      • OneReally

        Well said! Put some teeth into it. Skip school the entire week or month. Protest in Richmond or at the Capital. Risk your G.P.A.

  • The Constitutionalist

    Perhaps the local taxpayer deserves a 1 day refund for the money wasted this day.

    • SLHS Parent

      I’m curious — just how was taxpayer money wasted?

    • SLHS Student

      Sure, as soon as the local taxpayer repairs the damage to the families and friends of the students that have been killed nationwide

      • Mike M

        Local taxpayers had NOTHING to do with those incidents. They did provide the services that the students wasted. So, . . . ?

        • SLHS Student

          Do you genuinely believe that advocating for legislation to protect their own lives and the lives of their classmates is less important than 20 minutes of a school day? I can tell you right now that I have seen a teacher waste more school time trying to get a youtube video to play

          • Mike M

            See my response to Gregory below.

          • SLHS Student

            If you honestly think I care about your opinion enough to go figure out what you said to Gregory you are sorely mistaken

          • Mike M

            No. I don’t. Part of my point in addressing you and your act. I don’t think you are capable of listening to other opinions. It’s how you were raised. It’s how you are educated.

          • SLHS Student

            I apologize if I do not have time to argue with adults on the internet about politics at all hours of the day. I have had plenty of conversations with people who are against these protests, however the difference is they were respectful and mature

          • Mike M

            And in what way am I not? I think you are making excuses to run away. Like a kid.

          • guest

            Mike, You are asking SLHS student In what way you are not being mature and respectful? You called them a kid. You used the term [email protected] and wrote that these students are puppets. Yet somehow you wish for them to “listen” to what you have to say.

          • Mike M

            They are puppets and I told why. I know kids. I have raised kids into independent adults with greater success than many of my Restonian age group. I know you don’t get there smoothly without being straight up with them. Some of these kids will have an easier time with what I say and how I say it than you. Their minds are more flexible and subject to hard knocks even with the best of helicopter parenting. Some of them can climb out from underneath it. It’s not secret that coddling creates [email protected]

          • SLHS Student

            I can assure that I did not feel too coddled when my friend called me to tell she was going to attempt suicide, or when my sister was in the hospital because she nearly died. You do not know anything about me. I don’t care if you don’t like me or don’t agree with me, but don’t you dare bring my character into question.

          • Mike M

            Yeah, you have seen lots of life at your age. I hope your sister is OK. Stop hiding behind her situation. You may be coddled anyway.

          • SLHS Student

            You have repeatedly mocked me, called me a [email protected] and a puppet, and told me I am incapable of listening to others, in what way is any of that behaviour respectful or mature?

          • Mike M

            I think I made the case.

          • Conservative Senior

            Why not join The March for Life. Do you realize how many babies are murdered each day by planned parenthood. All lives matter!

      • The Constitutionalist

        Because the local taxpayer is to blame for the act of one deranged criminal?

        • SLHS Student

          The local taxpayers are responsible for pushing for safer schools and making attempts to protect the lives of hundreds of students nation wide

    • Jay

      This local taxpayer thinks the civic education (for those who walked, and those who did not) is well worth the money. I don’t care what stand the kids took – I am thrilled that they, in some measure, exercised the right to petition their government for a redress of their grievances. The Constitution is not a dead letter from the misty past of the founding. It is real, and these kids are learning that it is best learned through exercise.

  • The Constitutionalist

    “Hey everyone, we’re walking out of class today because we hate crime! End crime!” – Students

    “What do you propose?” – Rational people of moderate intelligence

    “Ending crime, duhh!” – Students

    “Oh, silly us, we didn’t think of that.” – Rational people of moderate intelligence

    • SLHS Student

      Students are advocating for stricter gun legislation, including but not limited to background checks and potentially training (similar to driving) before the purchase of a firearm, increased age limit to purchase a firearm, and ban of semi and fully automatic weapons to the general public. I guess your moderate intelligence never thought of doing any research before harassing teens on the internet, did it?

      • Mike M

        So, you are their spokesperson? Or one of their puppet masters?

        • SLHS Student

          As it says in my name, I’m literally one of the said students, and as previously stated, there are different ideas depending on the individual, I simply listed the most common ideas

          • TheRealMikeSapupello

            Your “common ideas” are far-fetched. I guess in your haste to skip class and protest you decided to not do any research on the history of the 2nd amendment.

          • SLHS Student

            As a matter of fact I have read the 2nd Amendment, I have also read the Declaration of Independence, the preamble to the Constitution, as well as many other historical US documents that promise the right to life which has been sorely infringed upon

          • TheRealMikeSapupello

            You have? So proud of you.

            Then you should know that America’s laws were made to be obeyed and that our constitutional liberties are just as important today as 200 years ago. The Constitution does not say that government shall decree the right to keep and bear arms. The Constitution says “… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

            Like eerrrrrr maaa gggrrrrdddd

          • Reston86

            Actually, if you’re going to quote it, why not use the whole thing: “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.” People tend to leave out the connection to a well-regulated militia. But none of our rights are absolute… there are restrictions on free speech, freedom of religion, searches, etc. Why not on owning guns?

          • John Higgins

            Actually, Reston86, it’s probably just as well that people fly past that first phrase. Folks are too busy to research the history of the 2ns Amendment and take license to think that phrase means whatever more than it does. For a fuller appreciation of why we have that amendment – having nothing to do with an organized military unit as so many people seem to believe — Google “Heller vs. District of Columbia”.

          • Jay

            Completely agree that America’s laws were made to be obeyed and that our constitutional liberties are just as important today as 200 years ago. The Constitution, however, is not a carte blanc on unrestricted firearm possession, just as it is not one on unrestricted free speech. They key thing these kids understand is that just as laws are made to be obeyed, the structure of our government – whose just power is derived from the consent of the people – provides for the people to petition for enactment of new laws, or the amendment or abolishment of current ones.

          • Mike M

            So, this erupted spontaneously on a specific time and place? Is there room at South Lakes for those who are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment? Will there be walkouts on other issues that kill far more teens every year?

          • guest

            Mike, Let it go. You don’t care. These are not your children. You find issue with most anything anyone says. It seems you post on Reston Now every day, multiple times a day. You met your quota on this one.

          • Mike M

            Not my kids? Really now? Not the [email protected] to be sure, but then not all the kids got swept up in the DNC propaganda machine.

            I don’t post every day. But I would if I wanted to. You don’t have any quota to enforce nor any authority with which to enforce it. Go away or stay on point. If you disagree, state your logic.

          • SLHS Student

            This was not spontaneous, it was in response to the shooting in Florida last month, frankly there are not a lot of teen supporters of the 2nd Amendment in Reston, and this is, in my opinion, the issue which is most impacted by legislation, hence the walk out

          • Mike M

            The walkout was organized by the DNC or associated factions. You fell into line. You were their puppet. That is my point.

          • Conservative Senior

            SL young democrats…..it’s their club.

          • Mike M

            It’s their religion! But don’t tell them that! They are above religion.

          • SLHS Student

            Actually I was raised with and continue to practice Roman Catholicism so I think it would be a bit hypocritical to consider myself above religion, but thanks for the baseless assumption, you’re pretty good at those.

          • Mike M

            That explains a lot. At least you own your religiosity. Most Libs won’t.

          • SLHS Student

            I’m actually crying a little from laughing so hard, why are you not able to understand that students also have feelings and opinions? It’s not a difficult concept. Every single one of the students I have talked to about the walk out, including the organizers, have expressed their anger towards the recent shootings and the insufficient gun control. Seriously, give it a rest, you have no argument and it has nothing to do with you anyway.

          • Mike M

            I think [email protected] cry a lot and for the pettiest of reasons.

            Students who participated in this walkout were manipulated like sheep. I have been pretty clear. There are more pressing issues. Yet you walk out over this. Ask yourself why.

          • SLHS Student

            Because dozens of our classmates were killed. How are you missing this?

          • Mike M

            Not your classmates. But others have lost dozens of classmates to other things like . . . the North Korean People’s Army, the NVA, the Wehrmacht, the Imperial Japanese Army, etc. Stuff happens. Weather the storm.

          • Conservative Senior

            There is a school group…SL young democrats who are directing things online & on twitter

          • Mike M

            And the DNC tells them what to do. Flocks of sheep.

          • guest

            There are plenty of groups on line supporting this effort. It doesn’t mean they are directing it or are puppet masters. These students are free thinkers just like you and me. Give them credit. You do realize there was an event at their school last week albeit a false alarm. They don’t want to go through that again. Instead of criticize. Lend an ear and support.

      • TheRealMikeSapupello

        Fully automatic weapons are HIGHLY regulated already (since 1934). Banning semi-automatic weapons, yea goodluck.

        • SLHS Student

          Thanks for the good luck, students are going to need it considering that teens can acquire weapons that could slaughter an entire classroom in seconds

          • Mike M

            You are letting your irrational fears rule you. Study up on that.

          • SLHS Student

            Hi Mike, in 2018 alone there have been 14 school shootings, so I don’t my fear is that irrational, and while I appreciate your suggestion so study up on that, I have already studied quite a bit on fears and related cognitive processes in my psychology class

          • Mike M

            So, you should understand my point. It is irrational to fear school shootings more than bad driving, drunk driving, opioids, other violent crime. All those things are far more likely to harm High School students. I encourage you to think about the things I am telling you. I am hoping that you do.

          • SLHS Student

            I would consider you’re point if you actually considered a single thing I have said. Most students do fear those other things, however their has already been additional legislation to prevent them, however people are too adamant in their love for guns to care about the lives students, hence the protest

          • Mike M

            There has been plenty of legislation about guns despite the Second Amendment. You statement about guns is overly broad. Upon what do you base it?

          • guest

            40 minutes under a desk is not an irrational fear. It happened last week at SLHS.

          • Mike M

            Yes. And who called it in?

          • SLHS Student

            Because a student heard their classmate make a comment about bringing a gun to school and reported it to school administration. Please do some research before trying to debate someone on it.

          • Mike M

            Step up and debate. You are getting emotional. Don’t go there.

      • TheRealMikeSapupello
      • Paul

        Expanding background checks and training requirements should be doable through legislation. Age threshold may be tougher. Banning weapons would require amending the US Constitution I believe, which is a heavy lift…but certainly not impossible.

        What I have not seen yet from students is being vocal for increased school security and a push for more mental health care diagnosis and treatment. Immediately, now, no need to wait on anything to make happen.

        The problem is bigger than “gun control” and the conversation needs to cover more. Keep pushing forward.

        • SLHS Student

          I absolutely agree that students should be more vocal about issues such as mental health, however the issue of stricter gun control is currently a bit more pressing as it poses the largest threat to the lives of the students currently.

          • Paul

            I respectfully disagree that stricter gun control is a more pressing issue than addressing mental health and building security. Odds are that the next person to attempt violence in a school already has their weapon(s) and more security may prevent them from entering the building and save lives…a law that states you cannot own those weapons will have no affect on this. Unfortunately the horrific shootings over the last 20 years have not resulted in much change, regardless of the political party/president in power. I honestly don’t know what you do about mental health issues, I’m certainly not qualified to comment. Press forward: changing the US Constitution can be done, making schools more secure can be done, addressing mental health issues can be done.

        • Mike M

          And media coverage of the murders.

          • SLHS Student

            Mystique? 17 children were brutally murdered, it’s not “mysterious”, it’s a horrific tragedy that needs to be rectified

          • Mike M

            I think you are wrong. I think the media coverage of these events creates a mystique about the murderers that guarantees the next episode in the mind of certain extremely alienated kids. I am not the first person to make this observation.

            Rectification is not in the cards. The damage is done.

      • The Constitutionalist

        Alright, let’s go down the list…

        The right to bear arms is a basic human right, the same as your freedom to protest, the same as your freedom to vote, the same as your freedom to pray to whatever false deity you so choose. The latter don’t require background checks, training, or a specific age. Driving is not a human right, you might confuse it with your constitutional right of travel, but they are not the same, as has been decided in the Supreme Court, believe it or not.

        We already have mandatory background checks before the purchase of a firearm and sometimes those background checks take multiple days as, on occasion, it needs further review.

        Fully automatic weapons have been banned and have been since the 80’s. The ones that still exist in circulation that were grandfathered in under the law command well over 5 figures to purchase.

        Semi automatic weapons include an awful lot more weapons than I think you realize, including 95% of pistols, and about half of the shotguns sold today, which by nearly all accounts, your “side” says aren’t the problem.

        I would suggest, as a certified firearms instructor who has trained people all over the world in the employment and capability of foreign weapons systems, to do your own research before you take a side, because as you’ve even suggested yourself, about 90% of what you want, we already have.

        • Reston86

          None of the rights you mentioned are absolute. You can’t vote until you’re 18; restrictions can be placed on where people can protest; you can’t yell “fire” in a theater or publish libelous material… I could go on. Gun ownership should be the same. Reasonable gun safety measures should take priority over a person’s “right” to own any kind of gun they choose, just like other rights are regulated for the common good.

          • Mike M

            Gun ownership is already very highly regulated.

          • SLHS Student

            Clearly not enough if 19 year-olds and people on federal watch lists can obtain them

          • Mike M

            Ah! But you assume laws and regulation work. You just observed that they did not. So, you want more laws and regulation? Mind you, murder is against the law. You want only the bungling government agents to have guns? Can you not get my points?

          • SLHS Student

            Points? Plural????? You barely have one, if that. I don’t believe that the laws failed, I believe they insufficiency of our current gun control is to blame for these instances

          • Mike M

            Points:
            1) The Second Amendment to the US Constitution is linked to the first.
            2) The walkout was the result of manipulation by established and entrenched adult factional interests.
            3) There are more pressing issues worthy of a walkout if any issue is worthy of a walkout.
            4) The media which overplayed the walkouts also overplays the school shootings.
            Need more?
            (Consult with parent again.)

          • SLHS Student

            1) The Constitution is over 200 years old and many parts have already been adapted for modern times, just as the 2nd Amendment should be
            2) You keep saying this but you seem to be forgetting that teens also have functioning brains and they are capable of having opinions that are different to yours
            3) Most students feel otherwise
            4) Not really sure how you can overplay the murder of dozens of children
            I have consulted with my parents about this many times, seeing as they are intelligent and respectful people

          • Mike M

            1) Shall we amend the First Amendment while we are at it? I don’t think so.
            2) Nope. The walkout was orchestrated at that time by others.
            3) They should do the math. There are more pressing issues even if the media doesn’t serve them up to you.
            4) When you underplay the opioid epidemic, you are overplaying everything else. When you don;t give attention to the South CHicago murder rate, drunk driving impact, etc, you are overplaying it. Sorry. Think proportionality and ask yourself (and your lefty mom and dad) why this disproportionality in the media. Ask yourself if it helps or contributes to the problem.

          • Mike M

            And what laws do you propose. Waaaah? Waaah? Propose away. Did you know that murder is already illegal? And yet, . . .

          • SLHS Student

            Wow, I am astounded by vast vocabulary and eloquence. “Waaaah? Waaaaah?”, truly groundbreaking. I have said time and time again what I propose, if you listened to anything I have said, you would know that.

          • Mike M

            What do you propose?

  • OneReally

    I didn’t know South Lakes was so close to Bethesda, MD until I watched that video.

  • RestonAssurance

    What a wonderful moment to remember those 17 lives lost one month ago in Parkland, FL. Proud of our students for participating in peaceful civic engagement regarding a subject that has continued to affect their peers. Any dissenters are has-beens who have not had to deal with being murdered by the masses while in school.

  • Linda Singer

    I am proud of the South Lakes students who honored the 17 individuals who were killed in Florida on February 14. They spent 17 minutes out of class to show they want gun control and the end of school shootings. The principal should have respected them not punished them.

    • Reston86

      As a school official, the principal had to maintain a neutral position and treat skipping class for this the same as skipping class for any other reason. Being marked with a “cut” doesn’t have any real repercussions so isn’t a punishment; and it shows the depth of the students commitment to the cause that they were willing to demonstrate and take the cut.

    • SLHS Student

      Our principal has been supporting our decision to walk out. She met with some of the students who organized the event to go over correct procedures and such, so we are definitely greatful for her support

  • Alex

    I don’t understand why all of these adults are criticizing our use of the first amendment to protest something greater than what we would be doing in a 20 minute period filling out worksheets because the teacher wanted to have a break. This generation is drawing attention to the serious issue of gun violence that is sweeping our nation. There have been around 14 school shootings just in the past 9 weeks alone which is higher than any other countries. Those who say that we are just ‘skippung school,’ are only leaving class to protest because we do not feel safe in the place where we are supposed to learn and develop. I urge everyone to think about that and instead of saying that this movement will not account for anything and it is just a waste of time, think on the positive side and imagine what could happen.

    • Reston2244

      Alex, ignore the adults who have nothing better to do than to criticize you, put you down, or talk patronizingly to you. Those adults never grew up and, quite frankly, likely have a host of unresolved childhood issues. Being an adult doesn’t automatically equate to being mature.

      For the adults who just simply disagree and want to engage you in respectful conversation, engage likewise. We will never learn and grow as a society if we aren’t willing to talk and listen to each other. I agree and support more gun restrictions, but I really do respect those who believe that’s an infringement on our rights and their fear of that infringement. So, we keep talking with the same goals – protecting people, increasing safety, and respecting rights.

    • Paul

      Alex, I suspect that many look at the protest as being too convenient and righteous. Headline stated that about 800 students walked out, how many of those people would be there if the protest was held 15 minutes after the last bell and lasted the same amount of time? Would they be willing to miss their bus ride or be late for something to make the same impact? The walkout was more civil disobedience than freedom of speech, and I hope that people continue to stand up for what they believe in and are willing to take a risk to do so. Don’t be discouraged, work hard for what you value and believe. Respect others that do the same.

  • Beverly W

    Thank you, South Lakes students. You’ve given me hope for the future.

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