Lexington-Richland 5 schools participate in National Walkout Day

IRMO, S.C. (WOLO) –  Exactly one month after the fatal school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. students around the country took a stand for their own safety.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, students in the Midlands joined this national movement and walked out of class to help raise awareness for gun control.

“It should be a priority that students are safe at school, especially in a public school because we all have to be here. It is important for us to be here to get our education. It is important for us to develop ourselves as students and as people and we should not be doing that in fear,” said Stephen Wise, Student Body President at Dutch Fork High School.

Dutch Fork, one of several Lexington-Richland 5 schools that participated in the walkout, took it one step further than just walking out of class. Instead, student leaders met with District Superintendent, Steven Hefner, to propose a different way to demonstrate.

“We came up with Project 17, which is basically us encouraging the students here and at Spring Hill and Chapin just to contact their elected officials by email, text or tweet,” said Emily O’Shields, Student Body Vice President. “It’s a more efficient way than just walking out and standing out in the commons in silence or just praying. We are tired of hearing ‘we’re thinking about you during this hard time,’ we want to actually do something,”
Regardless of what course of action students decided to take today, faculty and staff at Dutch Fork were supportive.
Dr. Gerald Gary, Principal at Dutch Fork High, said, “It’s always good when students recognize the power they have. Dutch Fork is full of student leaders, they showed that today. I think it was very powerful and I think their message was heard and I am extremely proud of them. I could not be more proud.”
Students and faculty say they will continue to work together to keep the Dutch Fork campus safe.
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