Watertown Students Pour Out to Join National Walk Out for Gun Control

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Charlie Breitrose

Watertown High School students held a rally for gun control as part of the National Walk Out movement that grew out of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. The signs in the foreground are being held by adults who are part of the Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment.

First about 20 students gathered outside Watertown High School, then the number doubled and soon people were pouring out of the front door until hundreds of students filled the area in front of the school as part of the National Walk Out calling for safer campuses and gun control in the wake of the shootings in Parkland, Fla.

The walk out had been scheduled for last March 14, to coincide with rallies across the nation, but a nor’easter put those plans on ice for a week. The event was organized by students and they were not required to come out for the Walk Out.

A few hundred students left school for the 17 minute event. They were joined by about a dozen members of Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment, who stood across the street from the school.

Along with the speeches, the students read out the names of the 17 students, teachers and staff who were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and placed a candle on a table for each. They then observed a minute of silence for the victims.

Junior Seren Theriault said that students from Watertown joined those from other schools demanding that Congress pay attention and make a difference in their community. She read from a statement drafted by the students who organized the WHS Walk Out.

“The lack of stricter gun regulation is putting our lives at risk,” Theriault said, reading part of the statement. “This Walk Out is not a protest against our school but yet against a government that has failed us.”

Charlie Breitrose

A minute of silence was observed for the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Looking out at the all the students who came out for the Walk Out moved Theriault.

“This is the type of thing that makes me truly proud of my community, what makes me proud to say I go to Watertown High,” Theriault said. “To see all of you out here be passionate about something like this, be so caring and compassionate and to care about making sure our schools are safe makes me amazed and so makes me feel so lucky to be here.”

Sophomore Alyssa Carroll said she believes that more needs to be done than “sending thoughts and prayers.”

“Think about your friends and family living in neighboring towns maybe a neighboring state,” Carroll said. “Imagine if you turn on the news and saw that there was a school shooting or any other kind of shooting  in the town where they live. How would you feel? Would you just send your thoughts or prayers? Probably not.”

Carroll also expressed skepticism about President Donald Trump’s proposal to give guns to teachers to try to prevent future school shootings.

“This would make me even more afraid to go to school,” Carroll said. “No offense to any of the teachers out here, but some teachers are kind of crazy, and with a handgun they are capable of doing anything.”

Senior Jeremy Ornstein encouraged students moved by the Parkland shooting, or energized by the Walk Out to continue being involved.

“I know why I’m walking out. I believe we need laws to end gun violence. I believe we do need legal solutions,” Ornstein said. “Do not let my voice force and define your voice. I am the one here yelling but your heart and your mind is just as strong, just as urgent, and just as important as mine.”

He encouraged anyone with an idea to stop school violence to share it.

“If you have an idea or passion or belief and if you are a liberal or you are a conservative, make your idea be heard,” Ornstein said. “No one side will make these schools safe, we need every voice.”

Charlie Breitrose

Some of the organizers of the Watertown High School Walk Out, who pushed for more gun control to make schools safer.

The group behind the Walk Out will organize voter registration drives at WHS, and he encouraged students to stay involved through events such as the March to End Gun Violence in Boston on Saturday

“Today, Watertown, let’s mourn quietly and tomorrow let’s keep our voices loud,” Ornstein said. “Parkland, I’m so sorry.”

Most of the WHS organizers will be attending the Boston March, but one, senior Evan Aldridge, will be going to to the march in Washington, D.C., with his father.

“(I am going there) because it is part of history and this is the most momentum this movement for gun control has ever had,” Aldridge said. “It’s good to go right to whee it matters, right to DC. It’s good to get as many people, as many numbers, that we can say this many people want this.”

8 thoughts on “Watertown Students Pour Out to Join National Walk Out for Gun Control

  1. I am so very proud of the Watertown High School students who are taking a stand to combat gun violence. Keep speaking up and standing up for what you believe – your generation can make a difference – thank you!

  2. I support all of the Watertown students and the students across the country. This is what America is really about. Standing up against what is wrong and for what you believe is right and if you don’t achieve it find another peaceful way to get it done.

  3. Kudos to the students for making their voices heard and being engaged in the issues that impact them and their safety. They are our future.

  4. I remember the days following the Boston bombing when every one was cowering in there houses . These students parents wished they had a weapon to defend themselves and loved ones. from the terrorist brothers As a person who graduated from Water Town High school and a veteran. I am embarrassed to say I attended a school that praises these students . How Soon we forget.

    • I am a WHS parent and never wished for any kind of weapon during that horrible time….and we were just blocks away….having a weapon wouldn’t have solved anything for me that day. But thank you for your service.

  5. The kids were told by the student organizers that the walk out was not about gun control or banning guns, it was to honor the victims of this horrible crime and bring attention the problem of violence in schools. Of course some students favor stricter gun regulations, but others are in favor of other measures to help prevent these things from happening, but they all walked out believing it was to honor the victims. Kids are scared, and emotional, and they want to do something to feel empowered, and for that, I am proud of them. It is disgusting that you, and others like you would take a gesture made by students and misrepresent the event to promote your political agenda. I can’t help but notice the “ban assault weapons” sign that you conveniently stage in in your photos is not held by a student, but by an adult, who, like you decided, to exploit the students to further her own cause. Somehow, that fact wasn’t mentioned in your article. Everyone knows the media pulls some dirty tricks, but this is particularly low. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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