ENDWELL (WSKG) – Students across the nation walked out of their classrooms Wednesday to, as organizers put it, “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.” At Maine-Endwell High School, it was pretty quiet.
Prior to the walkout, district officials said students walking out would be in violation of the code of conduct.
Still, about 15 students gathered for 17 minutes of silence in the front entry of the school, some holding handmade signs. A school official asked WSKG to leave about 15 seconds later.
Out in front of the school, it was quiet, too. A couple of seniors left for their free period. The school has an open campus policy for them. Tyler, who didn’t want to give his last name, was heading out to grab a drink “from Dunkin’.”
He feels safe at school.
“Honestly, I’m confident in my abilities to keep myself safe, and this is a small school, so I kind of know everyone around here,” said Tyler. “So, I think we’re pretty safe here.”
Tyler grew up around guns and feels comfortable around them. He does not think more restrictions on guns will make a difference. Mass shootings, he says, are a mental health issue.
“Nobody goes out and kills that many people. Whether there’s gun laws or not, it’s a mental issue,” he said.
Not all students and parents feel safe in school. Brandy Evans has a freshman at Maine-Endwell. She stood in front of the school even though her daughter didn’t attend today. Evans’ daughter feels unsafe and especially today because of the publicity, but that’s exactly why Evans came.
“It needs to be seen,” Evans said.
These students will be our leaders some day, Evans said. She supports their decision to walkout.
“They deserve to be seen, heard. They can speak.”
She thinks the way to keep students safe is by installing metal detectors in every school. She is concerned about her daughters safety.
“Maine-Endwell is one of the better schools, but it can happen anywhere,” she continued. “There’s kids in class that she, ya know, wonders about. We all have them.”
Other events at Maine-Endwell were scheduled for the day with a focus on mental health and school safety.