Western Kenosha County students participate in school walkouts in support of school shooting victims

At Central High School.

Most Western Kenosha County schools saw some participation from students in Wednesday’s national walkouts in recognition of the victims of the school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14.

The largest participation came at Central High School and Wilmot Union High School, where several hundred students at each school walked out at 10 a.m. The walkout lasted 17 minutes, to memorialize the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

At Central High School in Paddock Lake, students came out of the school in bunches from several doorways on the Highway 50 side of the building. They gathered in the parking lot along an iron fence. One student read short bios on the Florida school shooting victims and most students gathered closer. A few other students also addressed the group. One smaller group of students stood to the side with American and “don’t tread on me” flags and another flag with a pro-gun slogan.

Access to the campus was restricted during the walkout. Students returned to the building about 10:17 a.m.

Central Principal Lisa Albrecht said staff talked to students before the walk-out about related issues, including showing respect for people with differing opinions. After the walk-out she praised students’ behavior.

“I think the students did great,” Albrecht said.

Here is some video from Central:

At Wilmot Union High School about 300 students participated, said Erin Cullen, the district’s communications coordinator. The exit from the building was led by students leaders, with students walking out to the soccer field and standing silently. Students returned at about 10:17 a.m.

“The procession in and out of school was efficient and orderly,” Cullen said.

Most local grade schools also saw some participation by students. Here’s a school by school round-up:

Brighton School — Beth Gillette, administrative assistant/athletic director: “This morning the middle school students expressed an interest in participating.  The teachers supervised 114 of our students walk outside and stand in silence in memory of the students that lost their lives on 2/14/2018.  It was only planned as of this morning.”

Lakewood School — Donald Childs, interim superintendent: “This morning at 10:00 a.m., 36 middle school students exited the building with staff supervision and stood, entirely quiet and respectful, commemorating those lost at Parkland and in sympathy with their families and loved ones, for 17 minutes, after which they returned, quietly and orderly, to the building and their classes.  They demonstrated the maturity we expect of them, even at their young ages.  They also reflected the concern students across the country have re: the safety of the one place the law of every state mandates they be. As it happens, we began a comprehensive review of our crisis and emergency response plans just two weeks before the Parkland shooting, and we are able to reassure our students that we are working with police, fire and medical personnel as well as facilities experts and cyber-security experts to provide the safest possible environment for them and our staff.”

Randall School — John Gendron, district administrator: “We had a number of 7th and 8th graders participate.  No students in grades K-6 elected to participate. Below was how we handled it: Procedures for March 14th  — If a student asked or told us that they are participating, we directed them to go to the  Jr High lobby. Attendance was taken and the students were taken outside with adult supervision. Students participated in 17 minutes of respectful silence and were supervised for the 17 minutes. We did have a Twin Lakes Police Officer present to ensure student safety. Students were brought back into the building and reported directly back to class and with no disruption to the classroom activities. Following the walk-out, I drafted an email to the parents of students that participated and the procedures we followed. this plan was articulated to our staff on Monday morning to prepare for this.”

Salem School — David Milz, district administrator: “We did not have any students participate in the nationwide walkout.  We did send a letter to parents in advance to let them know that we wouldn’t endorse a walkout due to the age of our students but mainly because of the safety concerns associated with a walkout.  Parents seemed supportive of our stance based on the feedback we received.”

Riverview School — Jon Schleusner, district administrator: “We had 20 students opt to participate today. An email was sent yesterday to our families informing them of how we planned to respond and supervise. We asked our parents in the email to contact our attendance office to excuse them if they wished to participate and all of the students who participated had parental permission. Our classes continued as scheduled. We utilized our school courtyard as our designated area  beginning at 10AM and students returned to class at 10:17AM. Student behavior was excellent…the students elected to sit silently for the 17 minutes.”

Wheatland Center School — Marty McGinley, district administrator: “I met with about 40 7th and 8th grade students in the Cafetorium on the middle school side of the building at 10:00 AM for 17 minutes. We talked about how to treat others with dignity and respect, the importance of a positive school culture, and the mechanics of a protest. We also had a moment of silence for the recent victims of gun violence. At the end of our conversation I asked if they felt there was anything else they wanted to express. Several wanted to walk outside, so as a group we exited the building and walked around the south end of the building and entered a door at the back of the school. The students then returned to class. That portion of the organized activity took about 2 minutes. It was our goal for students to feel like their voices were heard while using it as a learning opportunity.

Paris School — Roger Gahart, district administrator: “There was no mention of walking out here and we conducted business as usual with all students engaged in learning.”

Trevor-Wilmot School — Michelle Garven, district administrator: “All classroom teachers in our middle school discussed the national walkout with students this morning as part of current events and what their legal rights were as students according to state statutes and shared our school policies and practices. We had 12 students walkout at 10:00 am.   We asked that they walkout to a safe space on the back parking lot and had our staff prepared to insure their safety.  We did not have any incidents with the students who walked out.”

Bristol School — Michael Juech, district administrator: “We had approximately 20 students and parents. All students had a phone call placed to the office from their parents, notified their teachers, and checked in with the office at the end of the walkout.  We had supervision to direct students to a centralized monitored location.  We also contacted local law enforcement to make them aware and asked them to drive through the area during that time. The students were very respectful and followed the expectations that we developed.”

Here are some more photos from Central:

At Central High School.

At Central High School.

At Central High School.

At Central High School.

20 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I bet most don’t even know what they are “protesting” for. The media fills their young minds with garbage, so to them, this was just time out of class. Its like fire drills when I was young…no care, just nice to get out of the classroom for a bit.

  2. Ann says:

    I think they probably grasp the concept somewhere between the lockdown and active shooter drills

  3. Erika says:

    Hi Matt,
    I’m a student who goes to Westosha Central and I participated in the walkout. I understand why you would think that we are just teenagers who don’t know what we’re doing but I also think you may be underestimating the amount of fear we have. Most of us fully understood what we were protesting, and we did so because we don’t want to see our friends, who have become our family, die. Also, some of the students who participated in the walkout were not protesting, but were simply there to show respect. It would be very nice if you to do something similar, and respect our first amendment rights instead of condemning us because we are teenagers. Thank you.

  4. Joyce Slatner says:

    I give the Central students credit for having a memorial service and remembering that 17 young people and a teacher died at their school in Florida. I believe the school was correct, allowing them to express their grief and support for safe schools.

  5. Z says:

    This is a pathetic display of virtue signaling. 98% of these students don’t care. They just wanted to get out of class for a little while. The other 2% are too naive to understand they are being used to politicize an agenda they know nothing about.

    God forbid these kids actually rally for something worthwhile, like putting an end to bullying their classmates to the breaking point. Instead they will be remembered as a group who is “protesting” for the removal of rights.

  6. Matt says:

    @Erika- I do understand your fear. And I can only imagine what it’s like nowadays to go to school every day with the constant wonder what that day will bring. The real problem is not the guns, but the mental instability of those with guns. But please understand that you kids were all used…used by the media to promote an agenda that they want. Propaganda, per se. While I do applaud your desire to want to make some real changes, the real changes need to be made by students in stopping the bullies! The bullies are the real problem.

  7. Erika says:

    Hi again,
    Once again speaking as someone who was actually part of the rally, I can assure you that a majority of the students were there to actually stand for something, not just to get out of class. I know there were a few; however, they were the exception. While I am willing to accept that due to lack of experience and real world knowledge, we may not have the best grasp and understanding of what is going on, but we were there and we were standing for what we believed to be right.
    Matt, I agree that the people behind the guns are a problem as well. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed. After all, it’s the person that uses the weapon that makes it dangerous.
    As for stopping bullying, I cannot agree with you more. Bullying is the reason why we have campaigns, such as Be Nice, that we push school-wide. Be Nice Week is next week at our school. We also watch videos during our advisory periods that speak out against bullying and we make posters and participate in several contests.
    As for Z. You cannot tell me that bullying was not a problem in your day. It was. If “God forbids” that we stand up for something worthwhile like stopping bullying… why didn’t you? You were a kid, same as us. You saw bullies just as frequently. But you didn’t stop it… so why are we the ones who are being remembered badly?

  8. Ana says:

    Hello Matt and Z!
    I am a fellow student from Central, and I just wanted to say, I agree with the fact that bullying and mental instability is a problem. And yes, some kids did use the walkout as a chance to get out of class. HOWEVER, especially with the wide use of social media and the fact that most of my generation never gets off of our phones, we know pretty damn well what we were out there for. Now more than ever, the world is connected. Which means that almost as soon as something bad happens, the world knows about it. We have had an average of 1.5 school shootings PER WEEK in the U.S. Yes, bullying and mental instability is a problem that can lead to a shooting, but have you seen the survivors of the Florida shooting’s responses to people saying that the shooter was bullied? They were bullied too. Did they shoot up the school? No. The good thing to come out of this shooting is that people are finally standing up and fighting to change the fact that school shootings have become a norm.
    Can we please agree that if it were harder for people to get guns, then we would have fewer shootings? Cause yeah, it is the people behind the guns that’s a problem. But its also the fact that they can GET THE GUNS. If they can’t get the guns, they can’t shoot up a school. Hopefully, that got through that thick skull of yours.
    NOW, as for the 98% of students not caring and the 2% that are naive, let me make this clear if I haven’t already.
    WE KNOW WHY WE WERE OUT THERE. If you really want to do percents, let me make it clear to that small brain you have. About (and of course this isn’t exact, and if you want it to be I will happily send out a survey to the school) 2% were out there to skip class. 28% were there for gun control, 30% respect, and 40% for both. We may not have all the facts, but we know enough to know that what is happening is wrong and that we can at least TRY to do something about it.
    As for the “protesting for something worthwhile,” I’m just so absolutely sorry that standing up against school shootings just such a non-worthwhile thing. I mean, who cares that all these innocent kids and teachers are dying. Why does it matter? We don’t know them.
    On the subject of bullying, as Erika said, we are having the “Dude be nice” week next week. We also have anonymous alert. Anonymous alert is a program that allows you to report anything that you see, whether it be bullying, drugs, or inappropriate behavior and beyond. Again, as Erika said, during our advisory periods we watch different videos by The Harbor which are all about things like bullying. At the end of the video, there are questions we go through and answer.

    There’s a lot more I could go on about, but I’ll spare you.

  9. It is just like taking a knee says:

    Do it on your time, not taxpayer time.
    Do it when you are not supposed to be in school.
    Do it for Planned Parenthood murders which are so much the greater when the two people who should defend are complicit.
    Do whatever you wish to do, but do it on your own time.
    I hear complaints that some teachers dont want to be guards. Well now,
    what were they as they pretended to be hall monitors and chaperones while outside the building during these marches
    What is for sure is that they were not teaching the curriculum, ie, not being teachers.
    I agree with Matt.
    Kids are being used and when you get older, you will see that you were used.
    We will wait.

  10. Chris says:

    I applaud all these students who went out and safely and respectfully made a statement about an issue that is rising in the world. As a 40 year old, school shootings were not an issue of a monthly in this country, let alone weekly.

    This generation is becoming more awake to the idea that just because they are young, it does not mean they have a voice that should be heard in this conversation. If even 1/3 of them become voters and activists, it will change the world in a way that scares a lot of people.

    As for bullying, yes, it exists, and even “back in my day” it was an issue (I know because I was quite the target back then). Being a teenager is a crappy time. There are hormones they have not learned to control 100% yet, this does not mean they are uneducated and should have no voice. But, that same issue, can sometimes cause issues and imbalances that cause them not to think, or care about the results of their actions. Slowing down access to guns to kids that age, it may not be the worst idea, or having a conversation about intelligent gun regulation (not banning) would be a conversation to have without blaming the kids for a fear.

    I deal with a few small and large festivals in the area, and we have all had conversations about possible mass shooters at these and how to deal it, due to the rise in these types of situations. Most of the time, the conversation started by local residents asking what the plan for local officials would do in this situation. At the very least, the students who attend these schools will help bring up a conversation about not only Gun control, but mental health issues, safety at schools, and bullying. Hopefully the Faculty, School board and Local Law Enforcement will take these voices into consideration to make the world safer.

  11. Impressed says:

    Erika…Very well spoken!
    As a parent I was upset with how the school went about allowing the walk out. I was told the campus would be closed to all outsiders including the media. Though I do not have a problem with the media that was there … I was told something other and treated a bit badly by the administration. The school sent out a phone message for the State Basketball game (BTW Congratz!) But they didn’t see the importance to do the same for the walkout. (Yes an email was sent). I was shocked at the disrespect some students placed on their snapchat. But after seeing West of the I’s recording … I was impressed. I believe in the 1st amendment. I said to my CHS students, they have a choice to participate in the walk out or walk up. That being said I also know most were minors. The school has no right to put my minors in harm’s way. The school could have opened the gym or something else. The Las Vegas shooting is still very fresh in my mind and by the school “allowing” students to walk out congregate in front of the school, it was also setting up students for possible harm. I am Not saying you didn’t have the right or that you should not have walked out… But our school should not “Allowed” it. We all have choice and at times there are consequences, if you knew you would get a detention you probably would have still done so, and good for you but there are rules and the rules changed to fit a situation and shame on our school. Again I am very impressed by what you said.

  12. Erika says:

    Hi,
    It has come to my attention that you think that we are doing this during class time. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Every few Wednesdays, we have a half day. On half days, there is a break that takes the place of our lunches. This break takes place from 10:05 to 10:20. Our protest took place between 10:00 and 10:17. We only missed 5 minutes of class. During those 5 minutes of class, students are normally packing up anyways. We did do this on our own time. We did this when we could have been running around the school with our friends and getting food and texting or playing games. Instead we went outside and had 17 minutes of sobriety and respect. We did do it on our own time. So no, the teachers were not teaching the curriculum, because there was no class for them to be teaching at that time. The people who came outside were all administration and our school police officer. I personally only saw one teacher outside. I understand that you may be upset that we were “wasting taxpayers money”. It’s a very reasonable argument. Why should you have to pay for students to skip out on the education that you are helping to pay for? We agree wholeheartedly. But we did it on time that you, as a taxpayer, gave us to relax and take a break. Instead we stood up for something.
    Believe me when I say that we do care about planned parenthood. We care about all of the controversial topics. But with the events that have happened recently, guns are the topic that we focused on. It was more impactful to all of us.
    Chris, I could not agree with you more. I agree that guns should not be banned, because they are not the only problem. Maybe more lessons in gun safety would be helpful? Parents who lock up their guns more securely, etc?
    To conclude, we are not narrow minded. We didn’t do this during class time. We care about our educations and we weren’t trying to “just get out of class”. We understand that we are young. But we knew what we were doing.

  13. @just like taking a knee and Z says:

    These kids will be old enough to vote in the next election so you should stop discounting their views and opinions and invalidating their strength.
    They didn’t cost the taxpayers anything, That’s just an ignorant comment

  14. Erika says:

    After note for Impressed,
    Thank you for your concern for our safety. As an honors student who values education and morals, if administration had not allowed for me to exit the building without repercussions, I would have respected them for their decisions. I might have found a different way to do it, such as suggesting an “in school walkout” or 17 minutes of silence. However, because I could do so without punishment, I did walk out of the building. I also found myself shocked by some of the posts on various social medias as well, but people who were disrespectful have just as much of a right to speak their mind as well. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
    I do however, ask that you do not shame our school. They were being extremely respectful and they set guidelines for our walkout. They made sure that we were safe. They did bend the rules for us, but it was for a good cause. Please do not be angry with them for respecting us.
    Thank you for your compliments. I’m not trying to come across as abrasive, but I just want the students’ voices to be heard.

  15. to Erika says:

    Erika you are not the typical high school student. Most do not speak the way you write, you have a gift and will be a great leader for your generation. Wise beyond your years. Glad you are using it for good and not evil!

  16. to Erika once more says:

    Disrespect is not truly ” 1st Amendment” worthy and no they really do not have the right as you say but I do have the right to say Shame on the school … yes they gave you your “rights” but the also were wrong for changing the rules for a few hundred/couple of hundred … so do you honestly think they will change those rules next Wednesday or the Wednesday 3 weeks for now when a few hundred want to walk out because they feel strongly about another issue… I am sure they won’t … so is fair equal or is equal fair? I am sure if there was a student walk out arranged next week the school will not accommodate that cause/ those students. I just want you to know the school did not give you the right …. they allow the rights that our founding fathers gave to us to be exercised with out repercussions. I know it’s apples and oranges but I sure wish there was this much passion for those that are killed by texting and driving … though not intentional too many deaths take place because of operators of a vehicle that turns into a weapon … again apples and oranges but another worthy topic that needs exposure too
    I meant the compliments

  17. to Ana says:

    You had so much to say that started to hit home but Being rude and telling someone to get it through their thick skull took away from what you were trying to say. lost credibility 🙁

  18. Erika says:

    Thank you to all who have been reading what I have to say and for all of your compliments. If I may so go far as to step into the administration’s shoes and try to express what I think that their thoughts were, I would like to do so. I believe the reason that they allowed us to exit the building for this topic, but perhaps may not allow us to do the same for others, is for the simple fact that this incident was directly related to school and things that were happening at schools. No, I do not think that they will allow us to exit the building every Wednesday for whatever we take a fancy to, but they allowed us to do this because of how close to home it hits. I can agree that the school did not give us our rights, I never said that they did. I simply said that they respected our rights. They allowed us to exercise them. This is something that I am very appreciative of.
    Also, believe me when I say I recognize that there are other problems that are worthy of the same attention that we gave this problem. However, the opportunity to say something about this problem arose and we took it. Should a similar opportunity appear to say something about texting while driving, bullying, or planned parenthood, etc, I can assure you that there would be students who would rise to the occasion.
    Once again, I’m not trying to be abrasive or caustic, I’m merely trying to get my point across. Thank you for reading.

  19. Elders and Youngers says:

    What some of the elders here are trying to say to the youngers (IMO) is that protesting to make government officials ‘change gun laws’ is not going to work.

    This Country has as many laws as possible saying this and that about not using a gun. It has laws about who can and can’t have a gun. It has laws about buying guns.
    By virtue of taking a gun and shooting people is “breaking” any law you can make.

    What the question is now, (IMO) is how do we take action against individuals who say things and or post pictures about guns and how they may want to use them without violating their freedom of speech rights?? Do we put them away for something they “might” do??

    We see how the Florida shooter had dozens of contacts with the law and was noticed by the law and the law did nothing. Right or wrong, at each of his contacts most of us feel he should have been arrested and somehow dealt with. Yet at each of those contacts each was individually assessed as a single event that was not arrest-able. So what can be done??

    How do we put away someone who is mentally ill??? Who makes that determination?? Is it the cop at the door?? The teacher in the classroom?? The school administrators?? Who decides who is dangerous and who is just speaking words we don’t like to hear??

    This is not about the guns that are already owned or for sale in this country.
    It’s about who uses them for crimes and terror. Those deranged individuals that are out there just waiting for their moment to be the next headline.

    Go back to Sandyhook and remember that that shooter used his mothers guns and killed her first. He didn’t buy one gun and all the guns he used were legally owned by his mother. How do you stop that guy in that scenario??
    Mental illness is what needs attention and response.

    It’s been said a million times before. Guns don’t kill people. It’s ……. people with guns who kill people. Finding, helping and fixing people who are thinking that a gun is the answer to their problems is what needs solving.

    The question is, How do we do that??

  20. Don Kozak says:

    It’s a real shame that this tragedy in Florida had happened. It is also a real shame that the anti gun crowd and Liberal news media in this country hijacked these children and their sorrows and sadness and made this into an anti gun rally. These children need to realize that they have been used by a movement that is much larger than they are. Sadly, many will understand this but many more will not. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. It did not fire by itself.

Leave a Reply

  • Follow us on

  • Archives