DRHS Students Join Walkout

Students Demand Action is a youth activism site.


Students Demand Action is a youth activism site.

Cassidy Clark, Staff Writer

Students nationwide staged a walkout at noon local time on April 5, organized by studentsdemandaction.org. This was sparked by the recent shooting in Tennessee where three elementary students and three teachers were killed. Schools all over the U.S. participated in the walkout including many in Colorado, like Dakota Ridge High School. At DRHS, an estimated 28 students stood across the street and protested in honor of the students who have been killed in school shootings. DRHS students made signs in protest, and some encouraged support from passing cars. 

This was the first planned student protest in response to gun violence this year.

“I know many people were worried about something like a walkout could be an open shooting range.  That is not what I was so much worried about as opposed to maybe a kid getting hit by a car, which was my biggest concern. I think that many kids just walked out as a reason to leave school — some of them probably didn’t even know what they were walking out for,” Deputy Dave Bruening said. “Personally, I believe that something on social media would have been more effective in spreading a message because you kids are always on it. Each school online could be involved, and it could get closer to the national level.” 

In addition to the Tennessee shooting, to date, there have been “14 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or death,” according to Education Week.

“I think walkouts can be effective if done right. Some kids in Aurora walked out of their classes and walked to the police departments and had conversations with the police chief. The Denver kids walked and protested outside the Capitol. I’m not too sure about just a handful of students walking out to the street, and I’m not even sure all of our students knew what they were walking out for. We had a walkout a couple years ago where all the kids went out to the soccer field and tied ribbons to the fence, and I think that was good, but I do understand trying to get people’s attention about the issue,” dean of students, Jeff Legault, said.

Walkouts have been used as a protest method for hundreds of years, and it can be a good conversation.  Many think the impact of social media could eliminate walkouts in the future.

Common sign seen at many gun control protests. (Paul Weaver – Flickr)

“I believe everyone has a right to their own voice. I don’t like that it impacts the school day, but I totally understand why it does, and all of the students have my support. I think walkouts can draw that attention to where it is needed because conversations like this need to be had. I do think there is a good value in walkouts. There is a ton of power in social media and what is presented to the people of the country, and I think it’s important that it’s not just a walkout but trying to get action taken,” counselor, Julie Plautz, said.

Students do have power and a voice. For more ways to get involved in this issue, students can visit Students Demand Action.