Students hold walkouts, make pledges

Students at Huntington North High School participate in a school walkout in remembrance of the Florida school shooting and to call for safer schools.

On Wednesday, students in northeast Indiana and across the country walked out of school for 17 minutes – one month after 17 people were killed at a school shooting in Florida.

The event was designed to honor and remember the victims of that tragedy, and to call for enhanced safety in the nation’s schools.

Walkouts were held at schools like Concordia Lutheran, Snider and Huntington North high schools. Meanwhile, at schools like New Tech Academy at Wayne High School, a walk-in was held where students instead made pledges to honor those killed in Parkland a month ago.

Leading up to Wednesday’s event, school districts around the area pledged to either honor the walkouts or discipline students who did so.

“Being a part of a bunch of kids coming together, and standing up for what we believe in it’s just enlightening,” Snider High School Sophomore Baylee Myers said.

Local students said they have grown up in an age of violence.

“The remembrance we’ll partake in tomorrow is significant for us to say we’re not going to be silent anymore,” Homestead High School Junior Lauren Berta said.

When students at Southwest Allen County Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools found out the districts would not support a walkout, students decided they still wanted to be a part of the day.

It’s not clear what the punishment at FWCS faced for walking out, but the district planned a walk-in – where schools use the time to reflect and learn. At Snider students were allowed to stand for 17 minutes, and someone over the intercom system read the names of the Parkland shooting victims.

“It’s important to me to reflect that they were kids like I am, and everybody at this school is,” Myers said. “They were in school when this happened, and we all need to remember this could happen anywhere.”

SACS planned to mark people truant if they walked out. So, students at Homestead organized a way for their classmates to submit letters to Congress.

“It’s not a partisan issue for us,” Berta said. “The thing we can agree on is we want something to happen.”

“I believe it’s not really a protest if we aren’t walking out, and showing what we believe in,” Snider High School Junior Emma Torres said.

Punishment, or not, some students still walked out with millions across the country.

“I hope change comes out of it,” Torres said.

The students who plan to walk out said they were ready to accept the consequences. For more on area district’s views regarding the walkout, click here.