At 10:00 AM on Wednesday, March 14, Bellarmine students and faculty members walked out of class in solidarity with the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Though it was optional, the quad was packed with hundreds of students and teachers.
Hundreds of schools across the country took similar action, with hundreds of students leaving their classrooms in a protest against gun violence.
The event was organized by ASB with the administration’s cooperation. The walkout lasted through break, with one minute of reflection reserved for each of the 17 students and teachers who were killed over a month ago.
ASB representatives took turns describing the lives of each victim like Scott Beigel, a geography teacher, who was designated a “hero” by his students, and Peter Wang, a 15-year-old member of the JROTC program, who many have suggested be buried with military honors because of his bravery. He had held the door open for his fellow students to help them get to safety before being fatally shot.
Senior Kyle Donahue emphasized the event’s apolitical nature, saying that Bellarmine students should take the opportunity to foster “constructive dialogue” and “reflection”. Junior Gabriel Young also described it as “a protest against violence”.
Towards the end of the event, Father Mario prompted students to join hands in unity while he delivered the Lord’s Prayer.
Though many students acknowledged the importance of remembering and celebrating those whose lives have been lost, some have criticized the event’s organization.
A student who wished to remain anonymous said that the walkout “was great as a prayer service”, but lamented that “there wasn’t a call to action”. Another student, Lucas Garner ’19, said that the event “was a good memorial, but not a walkout.”
More coverage on reactions and controversy surrounding Bellarmine’s walkout will follow soon.