Approximately 300 Shelton High students gathered on the school’s campus to honor the 17 victims of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, March 14.
In an effort to show their support for the victims of the recent Florida high school shooting, Shelton High School’s student council organized a 17-minute walkout, in which every minute one of the victims’ names was read before a flower was placed in a vase to commemorate the person.
Hundreds of students huddled together, silent and in the cold, as members of the student council stepped to the podium to read a brief statement about each victim.
SHS Headmaster Dr. Beth Smith said she supports her students for taking a stand and that she preferred to have them speak about the protest since they were the ones to organize it.
Senior Alexis Klimaszewski, student council president, said the purpose of the walkout was to show support for the victims without making a political statement.
“We wanted our students to have an opportunity to participate in this national walkout, but as a school, we decided rather than making a political statement we would instead honor the lives affected by this tragedy, which is, in fact, the first step in leading to a safer society,” said Klimaszewski.
Superintendent of Shelton Schools Dr. Chris Clouet also attended the walkout and issued a statement before it took place.
“These students have a variety of ideas about possible solutions to the problem of shootings in schools, but the March 14 event is not a rally to propose policy. It is a moment, their moment, to say firmly that the status quo is not in their best interest, nor is it good for the country. But what if some students do not feel an action such as a brief “Walk Out” is meaningful for them? What if they choose not to participate? Students will have a choice. They can participate in a well-planned, secure gathering (with administrators and police supervising) or remain in their advisories with their teachers.”
Lt. Robert Kozlowsky and several others from the Shelton police attended the peaceful protest at the high school on Wednesday morning in order to assure the students’ safety.
“We had been planning to be here with the superintendent of schools and the director of security to protect the students while they exercise their right to do this protest,” said Kozlowsky. “We had several meetings to plan this, and it’s all been about the safety of everyone involved.”
These are the names of the victims who lost their lives in the Florida high school shooting: Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Scott Beigel, 35, Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, Nicholas Dworet, 17, Aaron Feis, 37, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Chris Hixon, 49, Luke Hoyer, 15, Cara Loughran, 14, Gina Montalto, 14, Joaquin Oliver, 17, Alaina Petty, 14, Meadow Pollack, 18, Helena Ramsay, 17, Alex Schachter, 14, Carmen Schentrup, 16, and Peter Wang, 15.