by Cori Hilsgen
St. John’s Prep students are ‘walking up’ after participating in a nationwide #NeverAgain movement walkout event to honor the victims of the Parkland school shooting in Florida.
Students nationwide, including St. John’s Prep students, participated March 14 in a walkout a month after the killing of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Teens nationwide are asking for gun reform after the violent shooting. Many are angry at lawmakers for lack of gun-reform laws and are requesting background checks and bans on assault weapons.
The event, organized by St. John’s Prep students, was not a school-sponsored event and students were required to make up any work they missed in class.
School principal, Pam McCarthy, said when she sent out a notice to parents prior to the walkout, a parent challenged students to “walk up” and McCarthy accepted the challenge.
She challenged students to walk up to people they don’t normally interact with. McCarthy asked students to speak with them, sit with them at lunch, hang out with them in the halls and after school.
McCarthy said she has noticed students being even kinder toward each other than normal.
“I am hopeful this behavior continues well past this week/challenge,” she said.
She said the idea behind the “walk up” challenge is when people feel known and cared for they are less likely to violate the area and are more likely to spread the love.
During the walkout event, St. John’s Prep students and others stood in silence while a student read the names of the 17 people who were shot last month. Students later gathered for prayer.
The U. S. House of Representatives passed a bill March 14 to increase federal funding for school safety. The bill provides money for training school officials to coordinate with local law enforcement to identify warning signs and respond to mental-health crisis, and money for school security including metal detectors and locks.
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.