Local schools like Cape Henlopen High School participate in National School Walk Out
Students all over the country took a stand on Wednesday and walked out of their schools to protest gun violence as well as honor the 17 victims killed in the Parkland School Shooting just one month ago.
Despite some controversy and concern from parents, several school districts across Delmarva took part in this demonstration, including Cape Henlopen in Lewes.
Hundreds of Cape Henlopen High School students walked out at 10AM and stayed outside for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost.
Cape Henlopen's students had a clear message, and that message was "enough." Enough school violence, enough bullying, enough silencing.
In a statement, the students who organized the walkout, Anna Ives-Michener and Jade Shomper said, "The purpose of our student walkout, in particular, has never been to take a stance on guns: It is to show remembrance for those who have lost their lives in previous acts of school violence and to demonstrate that we want change. There seem to be some misunderstandings of the message we are trying to convey. We simply want to show that we stand for school safety and want every student, regardless of where they go to school, to feel safe."
Several locals came out to support the students who chose to walk out on Wednesday.
Ginny Stominski, a local, said, "I am in total support of our students. We need to have our schools safe. They need to be a learning environment. And I want the kids to know we hear them, we're listening to them, we're going to vote with them."
The Superintendent of Cape Henlopen School District, Bob Fulton, sent the following letter home to address parents concerns last week: "Student involvement with the "walkout" is by no means a District endorsement. It is simply a means for the District to provide a safe, structured, and orderly environment for all students at Cape Henlopen High School." The superintendent continued to say, "We recognize that not all students will want to participate in the "walkout", nor are they required to do so."
Stominski said, "They're learning about freedom of speech, so I think it is a very valuable thirty minutes exercise for kids that are supporting it and if student's are not, that's their right too."
Overall, Wednesday's participants hope the walkout will inspire a change.
Roberta Price, a local supporter, said, "We hope that they can make a difference with the adults so that some legislation can be passed so that these horrible atrocities will not happen again."
The Cape Henlopen School District was not the only school system on Delmarva to participate in the National Walk Out.
The Wicomico County Board of Education released the following statement regarding their participation. Paul Butler, Wicomico Board of Education's Director of Communications said, "Wicomico County Public Schools is extremely proud of how our students conducted themselves throughout today's National Walkout. Our student leaders chose to re-name it, a 'Day of Honor.'"
As Butler mentioned, Wicomico County Schools participated in a variety of ways.
For example, students at James M. Bennett High School watched a video related to the history and current state of American gun laws, ways to share ones opinion with government officials, and they had a panel discussion with members of the Sheriff's Department.
Some of the students then held a rally as part of National School Walk-Out Day. They also honored those lost in the Florida shooting by having 14 students and 3 staff members ring a bell in their memorial garden.
In addition, at Mardela Middle and High School, students stood silently for 17 minutes and students were also challenged to "walk up" to 17 students who are different than them, and get to know them.
Moving to Worcester County, Pocomoke High School participated by walking 17 laps inside their school in memory of the Florida victims, and they say they dedicated their last lap to Mayor Morrison.
At Stephen Decatur High School, students sat down and held a moment of silence for the victims.
Not every school district allowed their students to participate, however.
Indian River, Milford and Laurel for example said students have the right to hold peaceful assembly, but they said they would not allow this to occur during school hours, citing safety concerns.