Students Walk Out To Address School Safety
March 15, 2018
Students at JCHS walked out of school on Wednesday, March 15 and gathered to honor victims of school shootings and raise awareness about school safety.
The event was organized in response to the school shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“One day we were looking at the victims and I realized how easily I could see myself in those people, how that could be us, and I was really moved by that,” said senior Jadie Chauncey, one of the students who helped organize the event.
Senior Isaiah Poulson who read a poem at the event said that students need treat each other with more compassion.
“The biggest thing I want people to take away from my speech is that guns aren’t the problem, its the fact that no one is feeling for each other,” he said.
History teacher Reina Cruz who also spoke during the event said that students are realizing that their voices can have an impact.
“While everything is not perfect, they can actually make a difference on the problem,” Cruz said.
Several members of the teaching staff also attended the event and voiced their support.
“Students taking initiative and executing their civic responsibility shows not only their understanding in society and for them to participate in this event together show that they are global citizens,” said Spanish teacher Alicia Goheen.
While there were a number of students that did not participate in the event or agree with the message, some went with open minds to hear what the organizers had to say.
“I participated because there is a lot going wrong,” said senior Sam Osenga.
“It’s good to go out there and engage in civil discourse and talk with people to try and find a middle ground,” Osenga said. “It definitely isn’t what I thought it would be. It was pretty heartfelt.”
One of the concerns that students addressed is how security is enforced and how the school will continue to ensure the safety of students and staff.
“We want answers,” said senior Laramie Diestelkamp, one of the event organizers.
“We want to know how the district officials are thinking on the new high school and what they are going to put in place safety wise because we aren’t immune to that issue and we want to spark that conversation,” she said.
High school principal Melissa Sharp emphasized that the school is committed to working with students to provide safety and security.
“Know that we never take safety for granted here at Junction City High School, we never do. We meet weekly, we talk about issues, we have tough conversations and our students allow us to do that. They help us,” Sharp explained.
The students who organized the event worked with the school administration to receive official approval so that any student who wanted to participate would have the opportunity.
“We are always open to student-led initiatives. We are a place today that values security, values our safety, that values maintaining our facility because we care about our students so when students bring us an issue like this group of ladies did we are very open to listening,” Sharp said.
Many of the students who participated in the event will continue working to raise awareness about issues surrounding school safety.
“We plan to continue this. This isn’t going to end after this event,” said senior Kennedy Cox, one of the event organizers.
“If we continue to do this we can make a change and we aren’t going to stop until we see what we want.”