Students plan walk-out in solidarity of Florida shooting

Cheyanne Kramer, Managing Editor

Under the hashtag “#NationalSchoolWalkout,” a group of Oakland University students, with encouragement from their professor, are planning on walking out of classes on Wednesday, March 14.

According to Time, 35 students and six adults were killed as the result of malicious mass shootings in school settings since 2013, as well as an additional 92 children and 12 adults injured.

Just last week, a shooter was at large at Central Michigan University, only a few hours away from Oakland’s campus.

Celeste Black, an OU student, and her classmates hope to raise awareness of this issue through a collective walk-out.

Scheduled for March 14 at 10 a.m., the walk-out is meant to be somewhat non-political, with the focus being on the lives lost.

“We spent the last few class periods kind of talking about the Florida shooting and the victims, and how as students, how we can respond and take action,” Black said.

A student in her class brought up the March 14 walk-out, and discussed whether or not this would be appropriate at Oakland. The students came to an agreement that it was.

“Walking out has a much bigger impact than saying, ‘oh, we’re so sorry for your loss, we’re sending prayers,’” she said. “We think walking out speaks volumes, especially if others participate.”

She said across the country, high schools, middle schools and even some elementary schools plan on taking part in a national walk-out of some kind.

Amani Najm, another student in the class, said actions are much more important than words in regard to making a statement.

“Outside of the walking out process, we need to take action to show that this isn’t going to leave our minds after a week, that this isn’t going to leave our minds after a month, that we’re going to continue on,” Najm said.

She said one way she will personally continue on this conversation is through what’s known as “17 Acts of Kindness,” where she said that she will make it her mission to complete one random act of kindness a day in honor of the 17 students who lost their lives.

“Our professor is passionate about us standing up and having a voice,” Black said.

This course, “Communication in Leadership” taught by Beth Talbert, was put on hold for a day to discuss the effects of the shooting in Florida and to encourage students to reach out and change their local community.

Though the idea for a walk-out in general didn’t start at Oakland, Black emphasized the importance of OU taking part in the walk-out.

“Imagine if all 20,000 students gathered at the clock tower at once, all for one reason,” she said.

Black said the message of the walk out is currently being spread through word of mouth, and hopes to inspire students to take part on their own that Wednesday morning.