Students protest shootings with ‘walk-in’

CAMBRIDGE – Local students, educators and law-enforcement officials took part March 14 in the National School Walkout, a call on Congress to combat gun violence. The event followed shootings Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 were killed.

The gathering at C-SD was a bit different from others, though. Organized by the student government and called a “walk-in,” it brought teens into the school’s auditorium, where they heard remarks from educator Linda Barnes, Sheriff James W. Phillips, Cambridge Police Chief Mark Lewis, and State’s Attorney Bill Jones. Students were quiet and respectful throughout the presentations.

Some of the most persuasive words may have come from student government President Daniel Garcia, who said, “There is a small percentage of us who feel that our voices are not being heard. I am here to tell you, the only reasons they are not being heard is: a) You’re not speaking; or b) You’re not doing the right thing.”

“You can’t expect to cause chaos and then be heard in this society,” he said. “Stop pushing away the people – the teachers, the administrators – who care about you … We have to work together. If you want to see that change, it’s time to stand up and speak.”

Daniel’s remarks were praised by many. Teacher Kareem Otey said, “He’s wise beyond his years. He spoke well in front of the entire student body.”

Leaders of the Eastern Shore Network for Change Kisha Petticolas, Dion Banks and Verlisha Taylor posted a comment on social media responding to the walk-in.

“Under the leadership of our Dorchester County Public School Superintendent Dr. Diana Mitchell, Ed.D and Principal Dave Bromwell, C-SD joined in the national movement to advocate for change, address gun violence and not to accept the status quo,” the statement said in part. “We’re super proud of our students at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School and all of the others who participated in the National School Walkout.”

“I am very proud of C-SD for providing students with an opportunity to participate in honoring the students who were killed,” Lynn Hutchinson said online.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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