17 Minutes for 17 Victims

On March 17th, 2018, high school students across the nation walked out of school in protest of gun violence on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. At 10:00 am, a group of Elkhart Central High School students chose to stand up with their generation for the #NationalWalkoutDay by remembering the lives of 17 people who were killed during school. While the school administration supervised its students participating in the protest, they neither supported or banned the event. Teachers with a planning period on the hour were asked to accompany the students for their safety as they gathered together.

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Teenagers dressed in hoodies and T-Shirts huddled together in the crisp 28-degree air as student leaders raised a girl with a megaphone on their shoulders. She called out to her classmates that they were outside for a reason and to pay attention to what is happening in their world. “These students and teachers were just like us, ” she said as they took 17 minutes to remember each life lost by reading the names of Parkland’s victims and who these students and teachers were as people. The leaders encouraged their peers to stay informed of current events and take a stand for legislature reform. They asked those who would be turning 18 years old by November 6th, 2018 to get out their phones and take 2 minutes to register to vote at www.indianavoters.in.gov/ and make the decision to support those who will stand with them. While controversy surrounds regulation and gun owner rights, threats and deadly shootings have become so frequent over the past 10 years that Americans can become numb to the violence. Whatever position one might take with politics, it is evident that the next generation strives to be agents of change instead of unaffected bystanders.

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