2018-03-08 / Front Page

Morse High students to join national walkout on March 14

Gathering has full support of school administration
Times Record Staff


On Wednesday, students across the country will participate in a walkout to protest gun violence. Among students participating in the Midcoast are those from Morse High School.

The walkout comes in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and will last 17 minutes — one minute for each victim killed. At Morse, the event is being organized by school seniors and the School-Community Liaison Council.

Morse senior Eli Goodrich said that the Morse walkout was initiated with an email he sent to school administrators in February alerting them to the national walkout and seeking permission to conduct a walkout at Morse.

“After the Parkland event happened, people finally started paying attention to the issue of gun violence in schools,” said Goodrich, “and I think that was when I really decided that it would be a good idea for my peers and myself to be part of a national movement.

“I realized after Parkland that no change is going to happen unless the people who are in these schools — teachers and students — actually do something,” he added.

Goodrich said that he has received full support from the administration.

“We’re going to allow our students to have a voice,” said Morse Principal John Pinkerton, “and there won’t be penalties, certainly.”

“We are proud that students are passionate about expressing their beliefs,” said Superintendent Patrick Manuel in a letter to parents. “Students that participate will not be penalized regardless of their views, nor will any students be pressured to participate.”

The administration cautioned, however, that the walkout was not open to the public.

On Monday and Tuesday leading up to the walkout, students will have an opportunity to sign a pledge to do their part to help end gun violence. Students not taking part will either stay in their classroom if their teacher is present or attend a supervised study hall in the cafeteria.

Pinkerton noted that teachers who do not have classes scheduled for that time will supervise the student walkout, which will take place on the front lawn.

For Goodrich, the walkout is about raising awareness, not necessarily finding solutions.

“The message I want to get across to people is not a message of let’s ban everybody’s guns or let’s arm teachers inside schools because we’re not ready to implement solutions yet,” said Goodrich. “In order for us to try and solve the problem, we need people who are willing to do it, and that’s where I come in.

“I think that I am trying to raise awareness for my community that the students are completely involved in this and we realize that gun violence is an issue,” he added. “That’s where we have to start — making the community aware that we don’t feel safe in our schools anymore.”

Goodrich said the response from his fellow students to the walkout has been mostly positive, though he noted that some students have questioned the effectiveness of a walkout. But even without an immediate solution at hand, Goodrich pointed to past demonstrations in the civil rights era that eventually led to really change, even if no immediate impact was felt.

“Those didn’t accomplish anything right away, but they raised awareness on an issue that matters,” he said. “That’s what I want to accomplish with this.”


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