“Stop the violence!” Whitewater Middle School students chant during walkout


CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — “[The walkout] was built around learning to use your voice appropriately,” said school principal, Beth Thompson.“Learning to use your voice wisely, and knowing when your voice is going to be heard and when it’s not going to be heard.”

Those who chose to opt-in contributed to a paper chain, stating why they wanted to walk.

“I think there’s a lot of different ideas because some people walk for the 17 lives that have been lost, some people walk for a change in our societies, some people walk for gun violence to stop, period,” said Tanihja Harris, a student. “So many people lost their lives against guns I just don’t think they should even be allowed.”

Whitewater Middle School students spent 17 minutes taking part in a national walkout, each minute to honor the lives lost in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

They chanted:
“When I say, ‘stop the,’ you say, ‘violence.’ Stop the…”
“Stop the…”

Some talked about changes they’d like to see.

“I’ll change it,” said middle school student Maria Rodriguez. “I’ll change the age range and also the mental illnesses, which I know the president is doing that right now, trying to put that law in but that age, he needs to put that in.”

What was clear is the students and faculty members weren’t touting a definitive answer.

“I’d love to be a part of the solution,” Thompson said, “but I don’t know that I have an answer or response right now of: this would be the number one thing to change.”

Both the students FOX 46 interviewed and the principal agree that teachers should not carry firearms.

“I don’t think that’s a safe thing,” Rodriguez said, “because us as kids, we don’t know things and out of anger, we do impulsive acts,” she continued, “so knowing that there’s a gun in the classroom, somebody could take it and something could happen.”

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