Students walk out on April 20
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Looking through the news on Friday, April 20, many might have seen something about a National School Walkout; considering that an estimated 2,500 schools across the country participated in the walkout, including Robinson, it might have been a little hard to miss.
The walkout was started by Lane Murdock, a 16-year-old from Ridgefield, Connecticut, to promote an end to gun violence in America. The date chosen for the protest had an underlying meaning, as it is the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. It was also the second student-led walkout protesting gun violence in the span of two months.
A number of students from Robinson participated in the event. At 10 a.m., those who participated promptly walked out of class and made their way towards the courtyard, and stayed for 17 minutes, a minute for every life lost in the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. While students from other schools walked completely off of school campus, Robinson students decided to keep the protest inside school grounds for safety reasons.
Several students used the walkout as a plea to add limitations to the second amendment. Eli Kuhn (‘21) was in the crowd of Robinson supporters, and feels as though something needs to be done, especially to keep her from worrying about her own little brother.
“I just support it because I know it’s super important that students feel safe in their own schools. I know that my brother has to go to school fearing what he would do if a shooting happened,” Kuhn said. “He’s seven. He shouldn’t have to go through that, school should be a safe place for people. It’s really not acceptable that we have to worry about it.”
At some points during the walkout, chants could be heard, but notably didn’t last long. Whether this was due to students
refraining from being disruptive or not actually caring about the cause is up for debate. Kuhn, who tried to motivate the crowd with chants, felt strongly about the lack of enthusiasm.
“I wish there were more people and I wish they were more willing to chant,” Kuhn said. “I’m glad people came out, but the people that came out just to miss class are kind of bringing it down.”
Along with little enthusiasm, some people were there for a completely different cause. Dylan Lockhart (‘18) and Graham Willoughby (‘18) were seen holding “Free Bobby” signs. They walked out in support of the “Free Bobby Shmurda” campaign, a movement to free rapper Bobby Shmurda from prison. (Click here to read more about the Shmurda case.) When asked if they supported the cause of the actual walkout, they both responded with “no”.
“Most of the protesters here want to restrict the second amendment in ways that I don’t think would be productive in actually preventing or stopping school shootings,” Willoughby said. “We actually think that Bobby Shmurda was wrongfully imprisoned, so we do want him free. There is a scheduled walkout for the Free Bobby people as well. This is the counterculture.”
As far as them being able to walk out with the gun-violence protesters, Willoughby and Lockhart have the same rights to protest. However, some believe that it added more to the unorganization of the walkout.
“It took away from the walkout, and was kind of rude,” Madyson Evans (‘20) said. “[The walkout] was miscommunicated, and I think that’s something we can work on– just make sure everyone knows that these [shootings] are happening.”
Administration could be seen watching over the crowd, and Principal Robert Bhoolai, while never saying he supported students walking out, did state that he was “proud of [the students] for being an advocate for themselves.”
“I think students have a valid concern, a concern about their safety,” Bhoolai said. “Personally, I believe there’s a better way to express ourselves, I think there are people that could be the ear to speak for the students’ voice. But they came out, they assembled, and they made their thoughts known.”