Townsend Harris commemorates Parkland victims

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In schools all over the nation, students and teachers alike organized walkouts to bring forth a change and to remember each of the seventeen promising lives that were lost one month ago, after Nicholas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a semiautomatic rifle. Townsend Harris was just one of the many schools in which the students banded together in a student-led national school walkout.


At the end of second period, a majority of students rushed to their lockers to get their jackets to commemorate the victims of the shooting. The mass of students walked to the Queens College track for the walkout that began at 10 a.m and lasted approximately 17 minutes; one minute was dedicated for each of the Parkland victims. Along with this, Queens College rang 17 bells at their bell tower while Harrisites were walking to the track. Junior Class President Salima Ali said,“It was within those moments of silence, that we felt pain.”


Sophomore Lucas Ayala describes the walkout as a medium through which the students could express their opinions. When questioned about the purpose of the walkout, he stated, “The purpose was to show our respects to the victims of the Parkland shooting, but also to show that students are sick of violence that could possibly be prevented by gun control reform.” Sophomore Josephine Chen exclaimed, “It was empowering to see most, if not all the students and teacher unite and give their respects to those who have passed during the shooting.”


Salima reported the walkout to be an emotional event that demanded students’ voices to be heard. She declared, “The walkout created a spark among most of the students who participated because they began to think about the shooting and how it’s relevant to their own lives. By lighting this spark, some of the students who participated in the walkout will be inspired to make differences that prevent school shootings from happening again.” Even after the 7 minutes of silence, students continued to discuss their take on the issue as they returned to school. “The walkout certainly had lasting effects on each student that attended it,” she concluded.

 

Students also demonstrated the gravity of the situation through the use of banners and signs. Multiple signs read “Enough is Enough,” “Guns or Your Children’s Graduation? You Choose,” “Fear Has No Place in Our Schools,” and much more. The students carried these signs with them as a means of advocating for gun reform and conveying their earnest condolences.

The walkout is not the last part of this “ongoing battle.” Many schools, including Townsend Harris, have begun planning to take a further part in the movement for progress. The S.U. Board plans to fundraise to help alleviate any difficulties that the families of the victims may be facing. In fact, they are currently selling “#MSDStrong Never Again T-shirts” for $10 each. Any profit earned will go towards the MSD Victims Fund.

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