|4/27/2018 2:08:00 PM|
CLHS students promote discussion,
sharing of ideas as part of walk-out
Friday, April 20 was the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School mass shooting murders. On this day Chisago Lakes high schoolers, and more than 2,600 other student groups around the nation, participated in walkouts and respectful protest.
The mood in Lindstrom wasn’t so much about being anti-gun or eradicating the Second Amendment. The local students said they wanted to use their right to freedom of speech to create some noise about making schools safer.
As one girl put it, “We are The Columbine Generation.” Students are sick of headlines referencing the “worst school shooting in history” more than once in their lifetimes. One tie-dyed T-shirt declared, in black lettering “Enough is Enough.”
Chisago Lakes students exited the school at 9 a.m. and walked past the stadium, to the ice arena lot, where they listened to speakers and broke into small groups for sharing opinions and suggestions on the school safety debate. The walkout lasted one hour and was pre-approved by the district.
Principal David Ertl, standing-by with a reporter, observed how proud he was hearing the intelligent and informed discourse about things on the students’ minds.
One speaker, Jake Alm, has a cousin attending the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He said this cousin hid in a closet during February’s shooting that killed 17. She’s okay, but Alm confronted a tough reality-- that when issues are seemingly someone else’s problem or impact a community far far away, they just don’t seem as important as when someone you know is involved.
A student walkout organizer, Dru Ellering told his peers to make sure they register to vote, share freely what they think and listen to others doing the same and “...you can make a difference,” he added.
Speakers were generally displeased with lawmakers’ reluctance to tie school safety concerns to gun control, but other students argued firearm access and any school’s culture of acceptance are unrelated.
State lawmakers Senator Mark Koran and Representative Anne Neu were invited to speak at the high school walkout, but organizers understood them not showing up, as the capitol is very busy right now entering session closing days.