Gun violence – and gun control laws – are a tricky topic in our nation, but for some students at the Redmond Proficiency Academy, it’s a clear cut issue.
They want the violence to end.
That’s why several students, led by four girl student activists, staged a walkout from the school to the nearby Centennial Park.
“I have a right to an education. I have a right to be safe in a place of learning. I have a right to go to school and not be scared of my life being taken from me,” event organizer and RPA Sophomore Juniper Rook said into her megaphone.
The walk-out at Redmond Proficiency Academy began as a response to the anxieties of students around the community, with the mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan and the lockdown at Ridgeview High School a month prior.
“When I see shootings happening in schools,” said Nora McBride, an RPA student at the walk-out, “it’s really nerve wracking to come into school and maybe see someone who is just wearing a long jacket and being like, kind of skeptical in some way, shape, or form.”
A group of around forty, students and adults alike, showed up for the walk-out, which included speeches from student organizers Juniper Rook and Isabelle Richards.
“And so it is very important to us that we are bringing awareness to the issue and that we are all here to support the victims,” said Isabelle Richards, another organizer of the walk-out.
“The kids are amazing. They work hard,” said Paula, an event attendee.
After the speeches, everyone was encouraged to sign petitions and letters supporting current gun-control legislation under consideration in Washington.
Two of the bills they encouraged supporting were bill H.R. 4271 Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act of 2021 and H.R. 1642 Prosecuting Gun Crimes Saves Lives Act.
The students organizing the walk-out, hope their voices can be heard to keep lawmakers accountable and inspire other students of all backgrounds.
“If you have an issue and you’re passionate about it, then you can bring it to other people that are passionate about this and you can create a movement with it,” Rook said.
In a letter sent to students and families addressing the walkout, Executive Director of the Redmond Proficiency Academy Jon Bullock supported his students’ right to free speech.
He also stressed that students attending the event will be marked absent.
“Civil disobedience has a long and rich history in our country, and students who engage in protests or walkouts should understand the impact and consequences of their actions,” said Bullock in his letter.
“It shouldn’t be up to a ton of students to have to do this,” said McBride.
“No one wants to be here walking out for something that’s basic,” said Rook.