After the Fact

Olivia Armstrong, Copy Editor

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Never walking out of our minds.

National Walkout Day may be over, but the effects of the day are here to stay.

National Walkout Day was on March 14. Across the country, students participated by peacefully leaving their in-school grounds. Here at Bullitt East, the day was ended with a moving assembly, despite a few eager attempts to walkout.

After the Parkland shooting, survivors from that high school decided that changes needed to be made.

The school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school on February 14 has taken the world by storm, and rightfully so. Emma Gonzalez, Alfonso Calderon and Sarah Chadwick, all survivors, created an organization dedicated to making sure such a thing never happens again.

This organization is called Never Again MSD, and from this group stemmed a new demonstration: March for Our Lives.

On the official March for Our Lives website, they attribute the reason for their march as wanting to protect the future of both students and teachers. “We must make it our top priority to save these lives,” says their mission statement.

The March for Our Lives demonstration took place successfully on March 24, its set date, but beforehand, another rally took place.

This rally was coined the “National School Walkout,” on March 14. Country-wide, students were encouraged to participate by, at 10 a.m., walking out of their school building to raise awareness to the burning want for total safety in schools.

This desire did exist here in Bullitt County, but the Board of Education cut that short. On March 12, at around 1 p.m., Keith Davis posted a message on the BCPS Board of Education website explaining that no walkouts would be allowed countywide.

“Our schools are extremely safe,” wrote Davis, “For any student that chooses to leave school grounds and participate in an unsanctioned school event, consequences will be given in accordance to the Bullitt County Code of Student Behavior and Discipline.”

While Bullitt County may have been forced to keep inside the school doors, other counties were not. Locally, JCPS allowed any student that wanted to participate in the walkout to be able to. “As long as it was peaceful, I see no problem,” said sophomore Beth Woods.

From this regulation, a school assembly stemmed. Bullitt East’s journalism and yearbook program were able to work together with the principal to make both parties happy.

The assembly did take place on the 14, and it was operated on an optional attendance policy. “I think that was important because it made it clear that no one was trying to force any opinions or beliefs on us,” said senior Tristen Preston.

During the assembly, there were two main speakers: Bullitt East senior William Smith and father of a student in the Marshall county shooting, Scott Cosner.

Both had very insightful and passionate speeches; however, the messages were very different.

Smith seemed to be more passionate about the idea of gun control measures, while Cosner asserted the idea of these events were “not a gun problem,” but just a “problem of the heart.”

“As a Christian, I do agree with him in the way he expressed his religious beliefs,” said Woods. She also noted that his speech really seemed to resonate with her.

Sophomore Kamryn Lane felt the opposite, “the way he [Smith] expressed himself, his beliefs and maturity I liked. Still to this day I’m thinking about his words,” said Lane.

Smith, who gave the speech, was a little nervous before the time came. “I wasn’t as nervous about speaking as I was nervous about speaking what I was about to speak,” said Smith.

However, Smith didn’t feel limited in his opinions. “All I knew was that I had to be tactful, but I had all intentions of doing that to begin with,” said Smith.

Many, even Smith, were more passionate about the idea of an assembly over a school walkout. “I don’t think they [marches] accomplish much of anything,” said senior Andy Lutz.

Woods felt the same way. “I think that the assembly was much more impactful, it reminded me that everyone has different viewpoints,” said Woods.

It seems that despite viewpoints on the assembly, everyone walked out (of the gym) with a fresh mindset.