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Honoring Parkland through memorializing victims’ lives

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook and now Stoneman Douglas. Wednesday, March 14, will mark one month since the shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people.

Since the horrible shooting, schools across the country have followed a movement to prevent these events from happening and to emphasize gun laws. This movement is called “March For Our Lives.” This was started by MSDHS students: Cameron Kasky, David Boggs and Emma Gonzalez. They have called for swift changes in regards to guns by Florida representatives in Washington D.C. To mark the one month since the attack, Kaneland High School will be honoring the victims of the shooting as well.

Members of Student Advisory Board invited a few members of Student Council, as well as Krier executive staff members, to discuss how KHS could participate. The group decided it was best to make the sole purpose of this to not be political but to show support to the students and staff and their families by remembering the events of February 14, with the support of teachers, students and Kaneland Administration.

The best way to honor the victims is to leave politics out of it. Yes, there may be different opinions on this, and you have the right to them, but for us to make a political statement diminishes the true purpose of how we are choosing to honor them.   They were students like you and me, they were brothers, sons, daughters and sisters, who had their futures to look forward to and the least we can do is remember the kinds of people they were and what mark they left on society.

The March 14 event will show everyone in our community that we are a culture of caring. By participating, this shows people that students want to stand with Parkland in the best possible way. The administrative team has been extremely supportive throughout this process and have given students a platform and creative outlet. During one of our recent assemblies, Principal Jill Maras posed a question for us about honoring the victims by doing random acts of kindness. Her question was: “What’s your 17?”  Let this be one of your 17 reasons.

Following Columbine, there was a movement of kindness started called “Rachel’s Challenge,” this movement honors victim Rachel Scott, who was the first victim in that shooting. Unfortunately, now that our country is mourning again, it’s not too late to start change. This is only the beginning. Everyone across the country should ask themselves what their 17 reasons are for making the world better place.

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Students want to stand for their rights

On February 14, 2018, horror struck the nation as news of the 17 innocent lives taken by a shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School spread. A few survivors of this event took to social media to spread their disbelief and anger about what happened to their friends and fellow classmates.

Out of the shooting came the organization of multiple nationwide events such as “March For Our Lives” taking place on March 24, and the National School Walkout, taking place on March 14. Schools across the country, including KHS, are using this moment to honor the victims of the shooting.

The current plan in place for March 14, according to an email sent by Carri Oslager to students, is “at 10 a.m. those who would like to participate will be invited to walk-out of their classroom and into the hallway outside of their classroom.  We will be acknowledging the passing of the 17 individuals with the passing of a symbolic notebook or job related items in each area of Kaneland High School.”

Simply put, by doing this we are not honoring the victims to the best of our abilities.

As called for in the name of the event, we should be walking out of school. By leaving the school for 17 minutes we will be making our voices heard out in the world and standing in solidarity with MSDHS instead of just making a statement within our hallways.

Staying inside limits the number of things we can do for a ceremony to honor the victims. If we were to walk outside, we could ask the FVCC students to lower the flag in front of the school. We could have someone read the 17 names of the victims or we could move 17 desks outside to represent them. Staying inside limits our opportunities to have a creative ceremony to honor and grieve those lost.

Walking out of school to a designated area will keep the student body physically and mentally unified. When we are standing in the hallways we will all be separated by corners or stairways, we will not be able to see everyone participating nor will everyone be focused on the same things at the same time. This loses the original purpose of the walkout which is about students across the nation coming together to honor and demand change.

Schools have had a few weeks to organize their plans for the walkout, but KHS has not fully utilized that time to come up with a way students can walk out of school and still be safe. No matter if you plan to partake in the event led by the Student Advisory Board and administration, or if you still plan to walk out of school, keep in mind what you are walking for and honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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