The Nugget

Helena Hopes to Honor Parkland Shooting Victims

Our School Plans Walkouts to Express Views

Becky deMontigny, Head Writer

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On February 14 one of the world’s deadliest school massacres took place at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. During this shooting Nikolas Cruz shot down and killed 17 people, and left many more wounded and grieving. In response to these events, students across the nation are finding ways to speak up and be heard. 

Ever since this fatal shooting, threats have been made at many schools across the United States. Even in Montana multiple threats have been made. Several threats have been made at Big Sky High School just in the last couple weeks. In addition, a man in Darby, a student in Hamilton, and a student in Philipsburg have been arrested for threatening the schools in their areas. Surprisingly we have even had threats been made in the Helena area; in the last week two threats have been made at Capital High School. Both of these local disturbances involved students posting about their gun rights in the form of threats; one of these caused the school to be on lockdown for part of the afternoon. 

At the Parkland Town Hall meeting on February 22, student survivors of the shooting spoke to NRA officials about how they think our country can mend its loose ends back together. After adults and children across our nation saw this meeting, people began forming ways to show their support for the survivors and the victims of Parkland. Many student groups have organized rallies and school walkouts across the country.

Our Helena schools are making preparations to support those in Florida; Helena Youth Against Gun Violence has been meeting regularly to show their love and bring awareness to the gun-related issues spread throughout the world today. March 14 has become “National School Walkout Day” and both Helena High and Capital High students are planning on participating. On this date students across the nation are planning on walking out of school at 10:00 a.m. regardless of their time zone for 17 minutes to honor the 17 people that died during the Parkland shooting. As of March 8, more than 2,250 schools and colleges across the nation are planning on participating in this walkout.

Capital High School Principal Brett Zanto and Helena High School Principal Steve Thennis recently sent an email to all parents in the school district regarding the planned walkout. The email expresses their awareness of the event and advises both parents and students of the possible consequences of participating next Wednesday. The email further describes that administration would prefer that students found a different way to express their feelings toward the subject rather than cutting out of class time, but they are not going to prohibit the demonstration. They point out that if students do indeed choose to take part and walk out of their class, they will be marked absent. The one thing administration asks is that students remain respectful, responsible, and civil no matter what they decide to do.

In addition to the March 14 walkout, “March for our Lives” will take place at most state capitals across the country on March 24. Another national school walkout is planned for April 20 starting at 10:00 a.m. and lasting the rest of the day. This walkout represents the 19th year since Columbine.

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