Students walk out to honor Columbine

Allie Boulier

On the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, the Students United club organized a 30-minute walkout during 2nd block at 10 o’clock,  to write letters to local officials, primarily to our district state congressman Scott Taylor, who recently accepted $1,000 from the National Rifle Association.

The walkout itself was the result of a collaboration of multiple schools across not only Virginia Beach, but also across the nation. Here at Princess Anne, club members of Students United juniors Alex Posey, Toolen Meyer, and Lindsey West were primarily responsible for planning the event.

Meyer recounted she had set her expectations low, betting only 15 people would come. According to Meyer, when the walkout first began, only three people walked out. And then, all at once, people came streaming through the doors. “It was a movie moment,” Meyer continued. “We didn’t think it was going to happen.”

The president of Young Democrats junior Ben Berrett said, “Although our walkout was small with about 30 people, you could see it resembled the same passion of the larger movements in the nation.”

The school walkout was originally planned to last from 10-2:25, but the city of Virginia Beach decided that any student who missed more than the half an hour allotted would receive unexcused absences for the time missed and would not be able to take school transportation home.

Students United decided to obey the school rules to stay on good terms with an administration and boost the number of people participating.

Although the short period of half an hour for this cause may have upset some, West saw it as an opportunity.

“I think a lot of people were worried about absences and missing content,” noted West, “and with the shorter time, we were able to get more people to participate.”

With a total of 38 letters written during the event, West recalled that turning them in felt like making a real difference.

“We were a parade of change,” said Meyer.

Meyer even contacted local news station WTKR so that the students’ message could be heard by a larger audience.

“Getting media attention was huge since it wasn’t allowed at the first walkout,” said Berrett.

Looking back, West wants to thank Sibel Galindez, Students Demand Action’s designated mother from Moms Demand Action. Galindez helped the group organize meetings with representatives and encouraged students to use their voice.

“It’s crazy to think what I couldn’t have done without her,” said West.

Since it was the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting that killed 15, Meyer noted that although the students who participated last week were not alive when the shooting took place, it still affects them today.

“It’s been 19 years and nothing has changed,” Meyer stated. “Somebody needs to do something and do it quickly before it happens again.”