VHS Joins National Demonstration


Seventeen minutes for seventeen lives. One minute each to commemorate the inexpressible loss that has gripped mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends. The goal of these seventeen minutes of silence was to echo more loudly than words on the growing issue of gun violence and school safety. The tragedy at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has brought students together across the country in a way that transcends what it means to be politically left or right.

Verona High School decided to participate alongside hundreds of other schools and colleges on March 14, one month after Parkland, Florida’s fatal shooting. In what was described as a “greater turnout than expected” by senior  Isabella Williams who helped coordinate the event, hundreds of students filed out of the building at 10 a.m.,  the time the first shots in Florida were fired exactly one month earlier. Verona students made signs supporting the message of “enough” and the push for change in the nation’s gun laws.

Though not all students backed the demonstration, all students could agree on the importance of showing their respect and support for Parkland, Florida in this difficult time. The importance of a sense of community and togetherness was reiterated by history teacher Melissa Wallerstein who said “… there are always going to be people that will stand by you and support your perspective, even if it’s not the people that you are normally used to standing next to.”

Isabella Williams described the walkout as “part of a national movement for gun control but also at this particular school in Verona to show solidarity with the victims of the attack – which is why we read the seventeen names of the victims.”

Our generation looks up to adults for political guidance and strength. Because the perception among teens is that adults in politics are not getting along and are therefore ineffective at bringing about change, students have taken a stance to come together in a way that transcends political sides and age and which also inspires unity and change. Williams expressed that the message she hoped students would receive from the walkout was they can be involved in political activity and that it’s not just up to adults to facilitate discussion and activism.”