OHS student Dalton Myers holds up a photo of one of the victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida shooting. Behind him are (from left) Alyssa Donovan, Sophia Miller and Lauren Geyer. Photo by Elise Shire.
Hordes of students from schools across the state – and around the country – walked out of class Wednesday morning in honor of those who were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Approximately 150 students from Oxford High School participated in the walkout.
The walkouts recognize the one-month anniversary of the shooting, which left 17 people— students, coaches and a teacher— dead.
Oxford High School students held 17 minutes of silence, one minute for every person killed in Parkland.
With each new minute, students would say the name of one of the victims of the Parkland shooting and would hold up a photo of the victim.
Dalton Myers, an OHS senior, joined the walkout because he wanted to show the importance of unity following tragedies, such as the Parkland shooting.
“The goal for me was to show the country that the students of the world today are the ones that are going to be creating the future and if we want to make a difference, we have to stand united, not divided,” said Myers. “Even if something as horrific as what happened in Florida happens, we have to come together and finally put an end to it. We’ve had enough.”
Myers added that he hopes lawmakers will consider implementing stricter gun control laws and called for action to prevent future shootings.
“The fact that school shooters are able to get guns after they’ve been expelled from school and have been declared mentally unstable… that just shows that there need to be tighter laws,” Myers added.
Another student who joined the walkout was OHS senior Andrew Jones.
“I just wanted to say that we kids have a voice and our voice should be listened to. We should be able to say what we need to say and our voice should be just as powerful as everyone else’s voice… I also wanted to let (the victim’s families) know that they’re not forgotten and that we’re thinking about them,” said Jones.
Jones said that he also advocates for tighter gun control laws—adding that he would like to see the expansion of background checks and a higher minimum age to be able to purchase a firearm.
“That a kid (who) just gets out of high school can go and buy a gun… it just doesn’t seem logical to me,” Jones said. “You can’t buy alcohol but you can buy a gun which could be used to shoot someone?”
For 17 days, Oxford High students also honored these victims over the daily announcements.
According to Superintendent Tim Throne, it was communicated to district students that, although their right to peacefully protest would not be challenged, they should know that there are many other ways to make a difference in the world.
“I wanted to make sure our students know that they can talk to us anytime about any topic. It doesn’t take a walkout to get our attention. They have our complete attention every day,” said Throne.
According to OHS Principal Steve Wolf, the students did not break district policy during the walkout or miss any class time, as it was considered a “late-start” day for the high school.
Wolf added that he believed students were “very respectful” throughout their demonstration.
“While there were many (reasons) students chose to unite across the nation, the main theme I overheard from OHS students was (that they wanted) to show their respect by honoring the victims at Stoneman Douglas High School,” said Wolf.