FM-area students take part in national school walkout

Published: Mar. 14, 2018 at 7:34 PM CDT
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Exactly one month after the Parkland, Fla. school shooting, thousands of school walkouts reportedly were organized by students nationwide on Wednesday—in alignment with the national movement, started by the Women's March.

And FM-area schools were no different.

Fargo Public Schools tells us each of its secondary schools had student-organized marches planned—though while nationally they were all encouraged to happen at 10 a.m., the schools tells us some of theirs were planned in the afternoon.

Outside of Davies High School in Fargo, right around 10 a.m, the doors opened. And out flooded students.

Davies High School senior, Madeline Cano, helped organize the event.

"It's really important to us to remember the victims today," she said.

Junior Michaela Overholt was one of the participants.

"As we continue to have these school shootings,” Overholt said, “I think it's important that kids are stepping up and getting the message out."

There were a handful of adults there as well.

"I think they were just like people who supported us and wanted to show their support,” Cano said, “which we really appreciate."

For 17 minutes—one for each victim of the Parkland, Fla. shooting—students marched and chanted, they say, for various reasons:

"First we wanted to just honor all the victims, so we just want to show that there's multiple things that go into a school shooting, senior and student council member, Admir Ekic, said."

"We want to be able to talk about mental illness and address it so that people who have issues can get help," Overholt said.

"I'm really hoping change comes through legislation in Congress and the Senate," Cano said…"personally, I want gun control. That was not the message of the march, the message was to demand change, that can mean a lot of things to different people."

Cano says there were only a handful of staff on scene.

"I saw two of our principals," she said.

The school’s student resource officer was also joined by an additional policeman to ensure safety to the students.

The students say the event itself was completely student led.

"I really didn't hear a lot from the teachers, I know they're not supposed to tell us their political opinions, which I totally respect,” Cano said.

Senior and student council president, Brooke Bergen, says the school allowed the students to organize the event.

"None of us are getting detention,” she said,” like we don't have to make up the time for being out here—which is incredible because I think that was the barrier for a lot of students to come out here, they didn't want to get backlash from the school or their teachers or anything."

The school district sent us the following statement regarding its involvement:

Fargo Public Schools did not encourage nor prevent participation (of) any student-organized events. Building administrators worked with student leadership to plan for a safe environment for events to occur --and for the educational day to continue if students chose to not participate.

Student organizer, Madeline Cano, says about 60 students signed up for the walkout.

"But today, obviously more than 60 came,” she said, “I would guess 100-ish, 200 maybe."

While the rest stayed in class.

"Everyone believes what they want to believe,” Cano said, “we all have First Amendment rights."

But what about those Second Amendment rights?

Overholt says it should change with the times:

"It was definitely created in a time where we had just gotten our freedom from Great Britain obviously," she said, regarding fear of political tyranny in the 18th century.

But junior, Admir Ekic, says at least at this school, the march was not supposed to be political—just a chance for all to stand on common ground.

"One thing everyone can agree on,” he said, “no matter where you stand, nobody wants another shoot, another school to be shot up."