Dana Students Walk Out to Protest Gun Violence

On Friday April 20th, 2018, at 11:00 AM, the students of Dana Hall took charge for a moment and walked out of class to protest gun violence in America. It may have seemed like a one day event to must of us, but several students had worked to plan this event since early April. The day kicked off with a die-in and ended in a protest and march around Wellesley center.

Break at Dana Hall is typically a loud period. Kids are munching away at their goldfish and animal crackers, laughing with their friends, and making a ton of noise. On April 20th, however, it was quiet. That was due to the student-organized and student-led “die-in.” 13 students from the upper school went to snack early and lay on the floor to represent the victims of the Columbine massacre, an event widely regarded as the beginning of the school shooting period. They lay there for about 25 minutes, sending a message to this community and country that there are people behind the numbers and statistics we hear. There are people behind those names read after each massacre. Those people, kids and teenagers, are 6 feet in the ground, with their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness down with them.

11:00 AM. Students streamed out of class, silently, and walked down to the soccer field. A crowd of a little more than 200 students stood there, signs in their hands, wind in their faces, and expressions blank. There were cheers and chants and a sense of pride for accomplishing such a feat of walking out of class. Everyone knew why they were there, what the purpose of this all was. As the walkout kicked off and students began picking up the megaphone to read out their speeches, the crowd stood silent, people cheering loudly at the end, energy souring as kid after kid yelled out to everyone.

Various students spoke, from 8th graders to seniors, all trying to send a message to our congressmen and women. Madeline Guerrero, a freshmen, had a powerful speech, describing her past experiences with gun violence: “at the age of 9, I was silenced.. I remember.. not being allowed to leave the building of my afterschool program after a shooting.” Another student, sophomore Sarah Syed, summed up why she and many other students walked out, “we are here to protest the rampant gun violence in our country, which has.. manifested itself through heinous attacks against our nation’s people.” As speeches wrapped up and middle schoolers went back to classes, much of the Upper School piled out in the sidewalk and marched through Wellesley with signs held high. Signs like, “I should be writing my essay, not my will,” and, “this is not a moment, it’s a movement,” sent powerful messages to the people of Wellesley and the country.

All the efforts of student leaders led to 5th graders and 12th graders alike trailing into the soccer field, and upper schoolers all through Wellesley. Students chanted and shouted and tied orange ribbons on the tennis courts. They scribbled out “no more” various times on the sidewalk in chalk, and looped around past Starbucks, CVS, and the Upper Crust. All participating students gathered together to send a message about gun violence to congress and the world.

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