Standing Up to Make a Change

Haley Grether, Ahna Cates, Emmy Ralph, Nicholas Jackson, Ethan Neutz, and Bryant Miles

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Events around the nation have caused students to show that there must be improvements in the future.

At Bullitt East, an assembly based on discussion of school safety took place March. 14.

March. 14, was a nationwide school walkout day, designed for students to stand up for their own safety. Students all over the country made the decision to walk out of school to showcase their concerns. However, against the popular request, many schools held their students back from participating in this event.

Instead of having a walkout, East decided to have an assembly instead that was based on school safety. Principle Chris Mason and select members of the school Livewire school journalism publication took hand in inviting several speakers to talk about the issues prevalent in schools around the country, students listened attentively and respectfully to what had been said.

The assembly was planned by Mason and members of the Livewire staff. The school day was adjusted to an assembly schedule to accommodate for the event. After seventh period, students who decided to attend gathered in the gym with local police officers and visitors from Marshall County. The purpose of the assembly was to publicly address school shootings and honor the victims of them.

The assembly started off with principal Chris Mason restating an email he received from Cosner thanking East. After viewing the video of students at a basketball game wearing the Marshall Strong t-shirts, cheering and supporting the families affected from the Marshall County High School shooting, Cosner showed much gratitude and thanks in his email.

Next, junior Ethan Neutz gave a quick welcoming speech to greet the audience. He thanked all of the students, teachers and police officers for coming out and showing their support. Neutz then handed the microphone to science teacher Darrell Vincent, a long time friend of the Cosner family. Vincent addressed the audience about motivation and communication in society today. He spoke about how face to face communication is necessary, and that a lot of people are blinded by their mobile devices. “Twitter is not communication. I’m interacting with my phone, not a person. To me, it’s like a game. I’m scoring points by tweets and retweets and likes. That’s not communication,” said Vincent. Vincent then introduced Cosner to begin his speech.

Cosner is a 1987 graduate of Bullitt East and has a close friendship with Vincent. His sons Mason and Christian were injured in the Marshall county shooting that took place Jan. 23. Bullitt County has shown support to the Marshall in the past through a number of actions, the main one being selling t-shirts to raise funds for the Cosner family.

Cosner spoke about his appreciation for the support he and his family have received from Bullitt County and voiced his opinions on school gun control. He thanked the school and community for showing love and support. Cosner then spoke about how people need to seek help if necessary rather than hiding things. He also expressed his opinion that guns are not the number one problem, but people are. “We have a heart problem, not a gun problem,” said Cosner.

After the completion of Cosner’s speech, in transition, Mason included a brief moment of silence for the victims of school shootings.

Student speaker William Smith represented student voice in the assembly. Smith discussed his views on school safety and current political discourse. Adding slight humor to his speech, Smith provided comedic relief in a respectful manner. The speech differed from Cosner’s in that it focused more on national events and the divide in the debate over gun control that the country is facing. “Being the students of today and the parents of tomorrow, the time to take the safety of our loved ones and just our fellow citizens into our own hands through productive deliberation, recognition of causation, and finally ensuring our voice is heard, represented, and valued is a top priority for those we choose to elect, is now,” said Smith in his speech.

The goal of bringing inspiration to students proved to be a success for some. “I thought that the person coming from Marshall County was very inspirational,” said senior Larissa Williams.

Overall, the assembly as a whole was successful. The goal was to show respect for people affected by school violence and keep students aware of things happening around them.

It is hoped that this Stand Up for School Safety assembly was eye-opening to many.