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School Shootings, in North America
During 2018-MAR. Student walkouts.
Public reactions.

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This essay is a continuation of the previous essay.

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2018-MAR-07: Birmingham, AL: An accidental shooting killed one student and injured another:

Police said that one female student and one male, both 17 years-of-age -- were accidentally shot at Huffman High School. The female student died. 1

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2018-MAR-10: The Obamas sent a letter to Parkland, FL students:

Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama sent a handwritten letter to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, in support of their effort to organize a walkout of students on MAR-14. It said, in part:

"We wanted to let you know how inspired we have been by the resilience, resolve and solidarity that you have all shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.

Not only have you supported and comforted each other, but you’ve helped awaken the conscience of the nation, and challenged decision-makers to make the safety of our children the country’s top priority.

Throughout our history, young people like you have led the way in making America better. There may be setbacks; you may sometimes feel like progress is too slow in coming. But we have no doubt you are going to make an enormous difference in the days and years to come, and we will be there for you.We wanted to let you know how inspired we have been by the resilience, resolve and solidarity that you have all shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.

Not only have you supported and comforted each other, but you’ve helped awaken the conscience of the nation, and challenged decision-makers to make the safety of our children the country’s top priority.

Throughout our history, young people like you have led the way in making America better. There may be setbacks; you may sometimes feel like progress is too slow in coming. But we have no doubt you are going to make an enormous difference in the days and years to come, and we will be there for you." 2

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2018-MAR-13: Display of empty shoes in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington DC:

A video was posted by WLOS, an ABC TV station in Asheville, NC. It shows a display of 7,000 pairs of shoes intended to symbolically represent all of the children in the U.S., aged 0 to 17, who died from gun violence since the major Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012-DEC, five years and three months previously. Snopes.com checked the numbers of child deaths from guns in the U.S. They estimated that 7,460 children died during that interval.

The video has received over 71 million views! 3 A video is considered as "viral" if it receives 5 million views.

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2018-MAR-14: Thousands of brief school walkouts across the U.S.:

4

The group: "ENOUGH National School Walkout" reported that students had registered their intent to conduct a school walkout on MAR-14 -- one month after the Parkland shooting -- at more than 3,000 locations across the U.S. Demonstrating their support for gun control, student walkouts occurred from Washington DC to the state of Washington, Michigan, to Maryland, Colorado to California, etc.

The walkouts started at 10:00 local time across the U.S. Many lasted 17 minutes -- one minute for each person who died in the Parkland, FL mass murder exactly one month before. Lauren Hogg, a survivor, tweeted:

"Remember why we are walking out. We are walking out for my friends that passed, all children that have been taken because of gun violence. We are walking out for the empty desks in my classes, and the unsaid goodbyes. This epidemic of School shootings must stop." 4

A large crowd of students gathered before the White House. At exactly 10 AM, they sat down with their backs to the building. One student, Abby Silverman of Bethesda, MD said that:

"We just want the White House to hear us. 4

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D, NY) joined a New York City walkout. He sent three tweets:

  • "America’s students can clearly see what the GOP cannot: weak gun laws are at the heart of America’s gun violence problem ..."

  • "Students are showing more leadership than the so-called leaders in Washington. Proud to join the students at Leadership and Public Service High School this morning for #NationalWalkoutDay."

  • Inspired by the future leaders I saw in the streets today. A new generation is rising, and they’re not afraid of the NRA... . 5

Students at Victoria School in Edmonton, AL, Canada walked out in support of the walkout in the U.S. The school administration had informed students that there would be no repercussions for them taking part in the walkout. Emily Gwilt, a Grade 12 student, said:

"This was organized by some of our younger students, some of our junior high students. ... We don't have to fight for those kind of rights. We're still showing support for our neighbors and we're still showing that we care about their well-being just as much as their own students." 6

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2018-MAR-14: South Carolina: Reactions to the walkout within two school districts, the Governor, and the state ACLU:

  • Greenville County Schools -- the largest school district in the state -- announced that they will reprimand their approximately 530 students from about a dozen county high schools who participated in National Walkout Day.

  • The Charleston County School District did not permit media to enter school property at four high schools to cover the walkout. District spokesperson Erica Taylor said:

    "The team that developed the plans for the event decided to have closed campuses for the event so that we could ensure that students could participate without concerns for safety. ..."

    "Each school worked with student leadership to develop a plan for activities of remembrance based on the interest of their student body. The names of the schools participating were not released to ensure that students could exercise their voice without interruption or distraction, as well as to keep the participating students as safe as possible."

  • Charleston County School Board Chair Kate Darby said:

    "These kids are trying to support 17 children who were killed, and we are trying to do it in the safest way we possibly could. I think parents would understand that’s what we were trying to do."

    Caelan Bailey, a student at Academic Magnet High, did not agree. She said:

    "It was an easy way for the administration to appear to give us a voice while simultaneously silencing us."

  • Other school districts in the state also banned news media from their campuses. Some warned students that they would be punished if they participated in the walkout.
  • Other school districts in the state also banned news media from their campuses. Some warned students that they would be punished if they participated in the walkout.

  • Susan Dunn, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, concluded that threats of punishment could conflict with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment rights. She said:

    "Unless that’s a standard policy, it doesn't make sense. If the point of it is to prevent this from happening because they don't want the protest, then that’s an attempt to silence the voice of those students who have every right to be heard." 7

  • Governor Henry McMaster (R) of South Carolina said that he thinks the National School Walkout was a "shameful" attempt by a left-wing group to use students to further the group's political agenda:

8

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2018-MAR-14: Other reactions to the walkout, elsewhere in the U.S.:

  • Tom Perez, chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) praised the students for organizing their walkouts across the country. He wrote:

    "It is profoundly inspiring to see millions of students across the country organizing and demanding action to end the epidemic of gun violence. As they keep reminding us, thoughts and prayers are not enough. Now is the time for action. ... The cruel and cowardly indifference of the gun lobby and their close allies in Congress is no match for the courage of these students and all those fighting to end gun violence. Because of their leadership and activism, we know that one day we will no longer live in a nation that sees its children murdered and does nothing." 9

  • Leslie Gibson (R), who was a candidate for Maine's House of Representatives, referred to Emma Gonzales, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting who has been active in organizing the walkouts. He is quoted as saying:

    "There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me, and there is nothing that she has to say unless you're frothing at the mouth moonbat."

    Gibson later apologized to Gonzales, saying:

    "Emma, my name is Les Gibson from Maine. I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you. It was wrong and unacceptable. You are doing work that is important to you. I would like to extend my hand in friendship and understanding to you @Emma4Change"

    A few days later, after having received condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans, he terminated his election campaign. 10

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2018-MAR-20: A school shooting in St. Mary's County, Maryland:

The county is about 70 miles southeast of Washington, DC. Just before classes were to begin, student Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, had just opened fire at other students in the school. Blaine Gaskill, an armed resource officer at Great Mills High School, shot Rollins. It is unclear whether he died from the officer's bullet or whether Rollis shot himself with his own weapon. He died a few hours later.

The shooter, aged 17, had used his father's gun to wound two students. One was Jaelynn Willey, aged 16, with whom he previously had a relationship. She was initially listed in critical condition. She was scheduled to be removed from life support on Thursday, MAR-22 and allowed to die. WTOP-TV said that:

A statement from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of the Willey family announced that Jaelynn Rose Willey died at 11:34 PM Thursday surrounded by her family.

The other victim was 14-year-old male who was shot in the thigh. He was released by the area hospital on Wednesday, MAR-21.

President Trump tweeted:

"Thoughts and prayers to those at Great Mills High School. I ask all Americans to not talk about gun control today. It's too soon and not the time. All we can do is offer thoughts and prayers."

Webmaster's Comment (bias alert):

Unfortunately, school shootings are happening almost every day in the U.S. So if President Trump's advice is followed, there might never be an opportunity to discuss how to prevent them, or at least to reduce their frequency.

Sheriff Tim Cameron of St. Mary's County said that Gaskill:

"... responded exactly as we train our personnel to respond. ... This is what we train for, this is what we prepare for, and this is what we pray that we never have to do. On this day, we realized our worst nightmare. The notion of 'it can't happen here' is no longer a [valid] notion."

MD Governor Larry Hogan disagreed with President Trump. He said the shooting was a:

"... call to action" to address school safety. Although our pain remains fresh and the facts remain uncertain, today's horrible events should not be an excuse to pause our conversation about school safety. Instead, it must serve as a call to action."

CNN reported that this was the 17th U.S. school shooting in the 20 days since the beginning of 2018. 11, 12 However, many of them were after school hours or on weekends.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyper links are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Emanuella Grinberg, "One student dead, another hurt in Alabama school shooting," CNN News, 2018-MAR-07, at: https://us.cnn.com/
  2. Jenna Amatulli, "Obamas To Parkland Teens: You've Awakened The Nation's Conscience," Huffington Post, 2018-MAR-21, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/
  3. Kim LaCapria, "Does an 'Empty Shoes' Memorial in Washington, D.C. Represent 7,000 Children Killed by Guns Since Sandy Hook?," Snopes, 2018-MAR-13, at: https://www.snopes.com/
  4. "Students across the country rally in National School Walkouts to end gun violence," Video, ABC News, 018-MAR-14, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  5. Andrew Cuomo, Twitter account, at: https://twitter.com/
  6. Travis McEwan, "Edmonton students join mass U.S. national school walk out," CBC News, 2018-MAR-14, at: http://www.cbc.ca/
  7. Associated Press, "School district in South Carolina to punish students for walkout," Fox Channel 8 TV, 2018-MAR-14, at: http://fox8.com/
  8. Video: Governor calls student walkout 'shameful'," CNN, 2017-MAR-14, at: https://www.cnn.com/
  9. John Bowden, "DNC chief: Student walkouts over guns 'profoundly inspiring'," The Hill, 2018-MAR-14, at: http://thehill.com/
  10. "Did a GOP Candidate Insult a Parkland Shooting Survivor on Twitter?," Snopes, 2018-MAR-16, at: https://www.snopes.com/
  11. Pat Gray, "HERO: Armed resource officer stops gunman at Maryland high school," The Blaze, 2018-MAR-20, at: https://www.theblaze.com/
  12. "Victim of Maryland school shooting to be taken off life support," The Blaze, 2018=-MAR-22, at: https://www.theblaze.com/

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Copyright © 2015 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-MAY-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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