Type One

Filed under OPINION

School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

Pine+Crest+students+gathered+outside+of+the+Upper+School+at+noon+to+honor+the+17+lives+lost+in+the+Douglas+tragedy.
Pine Crest students gathered outside of the Upper School at noon to honor the 17 lives lost in the Douglas tragedy.

Pine Crest students gathered outside of the Upper School at noon to honor the 17 lives lost in the Douglas tragedy.

Courtesy of Maddie Driscoll

Courtesy of Maddie Driscoll

Pine Crest students gathered outside of the Upper School at noon to honor the 17 lives lost in the Douglas tragedy.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On February 21st at exactly 12:00 p.m, Pine Crest students chanted, “We Want Change! We Want Change!” This would have normally been just another school day and just another sixth period had it not been for the devastating Douglas shooting on February 14th. After the chanting settled down, the passionate crowd slipped into silence until all that could be heard was the rustling of the trees. The students sat solemnly as the bell rang 17 times in remembrance of the 17 souls that were lost during the tragedy. The only noise was the sniffling of heartbroken students as the silence stretched on and as each toll echoed across the courtyard. Upon the bell’s 17th ring, students who had closed their eyes and hung their heads in respect looked up expectantly, seemingly wondering what comes next.

The silence did not continue for much longer. Many students stood up, looked out into the crowd, and voiced their thoughts for everyone to hear. There were cries for change and reminders that it is up to us to ensure that that something like this never happens again. There were calls to action: to vote, to sign petitions, to never remain silent. Some members of the Pine Crest community even stepped forward and tearfully spoke about how the shooting had affected them personally. Every person who was brave enough to voice their thoughts was met with encouraging applause.

Senior Hannah Burnstein, who spoke during the PC walkout, gave us her thoughts, saying, “When I found out about Pine Crest’s walkout, I was really excited that the school put itself ahead of the curve and allowed its students freedom of speech and expression.  The good thing that came out of this horrific ordeal is that high school students are finding their voices and are beginning to realize that all it takes is a strong belief and a platform to become an activist.  The walkout wasn’t just at walkout – it has served as a catalyst for change in the Pine Crest community for everyone, from administration and teachers to students, and everyone in between.”

Senior Gabby Mahabeer similarly saw the importance of this walkout saying, “I thought the walkout was powerful because the student body was able to unite despite our differences, but it was also heartbreaking to see students crying because their friends and community were impacted by such a tragedy.”

Sophomore Heaven Infinity highlighted the power of student activism saying, “I feel like the walkout was very powerful and moving, and it made us realize that we as kids are really stronger than we think and have the power to make the difference we want.”

Although the walkout was organized largely by the student body, a wide ring of supportive teachers and administrators surrounded the mass of students seated on the grass and concrete of the courtyard. Administrator Jessie Metzger spoke about how she and Mr. Greenhut were once part of the Douglas community and how close to home the tragedy had struck.

At the same time, almost 15 miles away, students at North Broward Preparatory High School embarked on an eight mile walk that took about two and a half hours to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where they were met by several other schools. The thousands of students that had gathered on the grounds where 17 innocent lives were lost, led a chant similar to the one taking place in the courtyard of Pine Crest, shouting, “We Want Change!” and “Never Again!” Once the chanting quieted down, the crowd fell silent and listened to the powerful message given by a senior at Douglas who had lost a dear friend.

When asked why she chose to participate in the walkout and how the shooting had affected her personally, North Broward Prep sophomore Abigail Grindle-Boettcher said, “As I imagine it was with many people in the area, this hit us hard. This wasn’t some statistic on the news in California or Ohio. This was home. We knew these people. We were their friends, their family.” Boettcher recounted the way her fellow classmates reacted to the news the day of the shooting, varying from stone-faced expressions to hysterical crying.

West Boca High School students engaged in a similar exercise with over 1,000 of them marching to Stoneman Douglas.  They were asked to go back to class, but felt that their demonstration wasn’t finished, and they decided to make the long trek to MSD as a sign of solidarity.

American Heritage sophomore Dylan Joseph also highlighted the need for creating change saying, “It’s important to stand for what you believe in, and no one in our country is pro-gun violence.  No one is pro-mass shootings.  So it’s very important for everyone, especially students of South Florida, to be a part of this.  When my grandchildren are reading about this time in history like I know they will, I want to be able to say I was a part of making history, and molding the future for the better.”

It is evident that although the shooting took place in the small city of Parkland, students and families across Florida and the nation were deeply affected. From American Heritage in Plantation, to North Broward Prep in Coconut Creek, to our very own family at the Pine, students in high schools everywhere are calling for a change now.

When asked about her feelings regarding the walkout phenomenon sweeping the nation, Marjory Stoneman Douglas sophomore Julia Merfogel remarked, “I am so beyond proud to be a student in this country right now. The walkouts show that our movement is so much greater than I could ever fathom. We need as much backup as possible to really get our message across and it is a understatement to say that we have an incredible support system.”

I was very happy to hear that my dear friend Julia Merfogel, who has been intricately involved in the actions to promote “#DouglasStrong,” smiled upon my participation, as well as the participation of students across the state and country, in these walkouts.

As was expressed by several students during our own walkout, we are the generation that will finally invoke change. Although the walkouts were only one small step, they were the beginning to our journey toward justice.  There are many other ways to get involved in the near future.  One important way is to get out there and vote for those who will fight to keep students safe.  Voter registration is on March 22nd at PC, and everyone who can’t vote this year should still pre-register.  For those interested in demonstration opportunities, there will be a Walk for Solidarity honoring the victims of this tragedy on March 10th and the March for Our Lives on March 24th.  The March for Our Lives is organized by Parkland students and is focused on calling for legislative change to keep students safe. While the main march will occur in Washington D.C., there will be many others going on across the country.  

In time, through perseverance and our continued passion to take a stand, I am confident that we will be the generation to make change.

Source: Miami Herald

Type One welcomes all opinions and perspectives. If you want to write a letter to the editor, propose an idea, article, or editorial for Type One, please visit our Contact Page to submit a request. 

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    Politics as a Team Sport?

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

    Awards Show Speeches and Politics

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    Do Vegetarians Have the Right to Judge Others for Eating Meat?

  • OPINION

    Why the Oklahoma Teacher Walkouts Are So Important

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    Capital Punishment Editorial

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    Gun Policy Change Is a Must After MSD

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    An Interview with Congressman Ted Deutch

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    The Path Toward Social Justice

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    To Listen or Not to Listen: Protesting at the State of the Union

  • School Walkouts Sweep South Florida

    OPINION

    Out of the Classroom: The Blended Learning Experience

The Student News Site of Pine Crest School
School Walkouts Sweep South Florida