COVINGTON, Ga. – Four Eastside High School seniors are working together to organize a walkout event March 14 at the school.
Organizers of the event, who call themselves the Eastside High School Walkout Team, include Jackson Gann, Dory Berry, Sara Hammonds and Sonny Vargas.
Women’s March EMPOWER has joined with student activists around the country to organize a national student walkout March 14, just one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“This is a student-led and student-exclusive protest,” Gann said. “Only Eastside students will be allowed to participate at the event March 14, taking place at Eastside. We do encourage students at other schools in Newton County to come together and join the Women’s March Walkout and other events nationwide.”
Hammonds said the goal of the walkout is to show elected leaders that doing nothing will not be accepted as a solution.
“We want our government to know that we want them to take action and protect our schools and our children from future tragedies like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas from happening again,” Gann said. “Just because we are teenagers does not mean that our voices and opinions should not be heard. We are the future leaders of America and the future of America.”
So far, the organizers have received mixed feedback from their peers, parents and community members.
“While we have received a lot of support from students, friends and parents, we have not been immune to some negative feedback from those same categories,” Vargas said. “In regards to the faculty, due to the fact that Eastside is a public school, they have been asked by the school system to remain neutral.”
Newton County School System Public Relations Director Sherri Davis said students who participate in the walkout will be counted as absent.
“We are aware of a possible student-led walkout on March 14 and will be sending letters home to parents regarding this matter,” she said. “Students who participate in a walkout will receive an unexcused absence for any time missed as teachers will continue to teach their classes. Students are expected to adhere to the student code of conduct at all times.”
Berry said students interested in participating in the walkout can meet at Legion Field at 3 p.m. March 11 to make posters.
“As students, we realized that we have voices that need to be heard,” Berry said. “Due to the events that have been occurring, we feel as though Congress needs to hear that we want a change, along with thousands of other students across the nation. We really wanted to see our student body become involved in a movement that spreads farther than our community and has the momentum to make a change in our country.”