PHS students participate in national walkout


Haley Keizur, Chief

More than 200 PHS students chose to participate in the National Walkout today, March 14. Students marched to support stricter gun control and remember the 17 victims from the school shooting in Parkland, FL, while others chose to counter protest the walkout.

Students marched from PHS to Pioneer Park, where the names of each Parkland victim was read, along with a short description of the student or teacher, followed by a moment of silence. Four choir students sang “Sing Me to Heaven” to honor the 17 lives lost in Parkland and the many others lost to school shootings. Sophomore Sara Sprague proceeded to give a speech, the same speech she will share in Florida this June as part of her speech and debate competition.

“My message to Parkland is unconditional love and respect,” Sprague said to the 200 students and community members gathered to listen.

Sprague believes Congress should put into place stricter background checks and some automatic weapons should be outlawed completely

“A national walkout is all of us coming together despite our differences, despite our political agendas and uniting to have one common goal and message. That is safety. That is remembrance of Florida. That is making sure something like that never happens again. The reason it is so big and it is national is because when Washington [D.C.] sees that everyone in the country is doing this, they are going to see it is a common goal and this is what democracy is,” Sprague said after the event.

Other students chose to attend the walkout to protest stricter gun legislation.

“I chose to be here because I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about gun violence. They think if you take them away, violence will disappear. In Detroit, they have strict gun laws, yet they still have high crime rates. Criminals will still find ways, through bombings or illegal weapons,” one senior counter protester said.

He believes it is important for students to stand up for their rights and what they believe in. As for change, he does not see a need.

“Honestly, at the moment, I do not really see any need for change. However, [maybe invoking] stricter gun laws or stricter background checks but not necessarily stricter gun laws.  Take into account the stability of people, rather than just looking at their criminal record and if they do not have one, just checking them off,” he said.

PHS students joined hundreds of students across the district and thousands across the nation to remember the Parkland shooting victims and let their voices be heard. After the student speaker, students signed a poster to send to friends and family of the victims in Florida.