Seventeen minutes of the #NeverAgain movement prompted approximately four hundred students to walk out of class at Camas High School. Students, teachers, administrators, and the public stood silent while the student organizing leaders spoke in front of the flagpole to honor victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida and called for gun law reform.
Camas High School held a peaceful walkout on March 14th at 10 a.m. Senior Maddie Pfaff says, “The reason I walked out today is because it is sad to think that there are people out there who want to hurt others. I want to make sure people at the school feel that they are safe. We are a community here.”
Initially, one of the student organizers, Tanner O’Brien, was skeptical of the turnout with only about one hundred people reserving a spot on the Facebook page. At “9:57 a.m. not a lot of people” walked out, and then people “started flooding out of the doors.” He remarked that this was a humbling experience for him.
At the beginning of the walkout, another student leader, Monica Jiang, called for gun reform. She acknowledged that even though many of the students are not old enough to vote, “we have a voice in our community, in our nation. This is a chance for our generation to speak out.” Senior Maddie Bertalot echoes this thought and desires a quick change. “If politicians aren’t afraid of this walkout, then they should be. We are the next generation of voters; they can kiss their seat goodbye.”
Although the basic premise of the nationally-organized walkout was to honor the victims, an added element of calling for gun reform intertwined with the walkout at CHS. At lunch, students had the opportunity to sign a letter to Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler requesting gun law reform.
While not every student agreed with this additional political reasoning, some still walked out. Junior Oliver Silano walked out as an “obligation to show respect.”
As students quietly walked back to their classrooms, the walkout may have ended, but the movement did not. Students across the nation on March 14th made a stand against violence, honored the victims of a shooting, and promoted unity.
One way students will continue the movement on campus is through a “Students for Change” club that will meet Mondays after school in room 807.