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St. Lawrence students, faculty walk out to protest gun violence (VIDEO)

St. Lawrence students, faculty walk out to protest gun violence (VIDEO)

CANTON — More than 200 students and faculty gathered at the quad in front of Kirk Douglas Hall just before 10 a.m. today to participate in the national and international walkouts to protest gun violence.“I’m kind of from this area, where guns are a big problem,” said first year Reiley Burwell, who attended the walkout. “I feel like this could happen up in the north country … and I think the topic needs to be brought up and needs to be talked about.”The idea of a student walkout has spread since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14. University, high school and elementary students all scheduled walkouts today, one month after the shooting. The St. Lawrence event was scheduled from 10:10 to 10:27 a.m., with the 17 minutes representing the 17 people killed in the Parkland shooting.“I teach a unit on school shootings and school violence, and I’ve just seen what an effect it has had on students’ perspective on school and safety,” said Associate Professor of Education Jessica Sierk, who worked with junior Aune Nuyttens to organize the event. “So when I heard about the national walkout, I wanted to do something more than just walking out of buildings.”Chanting “enough is enough — not one more,” the students gathered in the falling snow to hear brief speeches from senior Courtney Bliss and Associate Professor of Government Christopher Buck, who spoke as an officer of the American Association of University Professors.Ms. Bliss spoke about her experience as a high school student in Connecticut during the Sandy Hook school shooting.“That day, many of my friends lost their beloved elementary school principal,” she said. “As a future educator, I want to make schools as safe as possible for my future students, colleagues and myself.”Ms. Bliss mentioned not only the Parkland shooting, but also the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Ala. last week.“We need to ask ourselves why we are more apt to buy kids bulletproof backpacks and arm teachers in this country than to address the issue head on,” she said.Mr. Buck spoke on the issue of firearms and academic freedom, saying that keeping firearms off campuses allowed free discussion without fear of violence.“(The Trump administration) would rather militarize educational institutions than pursue more sensible gun laws,” Mr. Buck said. “If this proposal were implemented on college campuses, the first casualty would be academic freedom.”The rally included the reading of the names of people who had been killed in school shootings in Parkland and elsewhere, followed by a moment of silence and the announcement of a meeting to brainstorm concrete steps to take action on gun violence.“This is definitely just a problem that keeps happening, and it needs to be stopped,” junior Travis Marnell told the Times. A math major and education and sports studies double minor, Mr. Marnell hopes to be a teacher someday.“It’s something that I take personally,” he said. “I just hope (the walkout) kind of shows a lot of people are tired of it.”
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
St. Lawrence students, faculty walk out to protest gun violence (VIDEO)

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