Service High students conduct walkout after Florida shooting
Hundreds of high-school students conducted a walkout at Service High School in South Anchorage, one week after a mass shooting left 17 people dead in Florida.
The walkout, at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday in Alaska, was timed to commemorate the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Survivors of the shooting, in which 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, have used the tragedy as a rallying cry to strengthen the nation’s gun laws.
Dieuleveut Biringanine, Service High’s student body president, said she told the crowd to “set their politics aside and just talk about the violence.”
“We were here for several minutes for every student who was shot last week,” Biringanine said. “We just wanted to address the violence that's been happening around the country.”
According to Biringanine, Service High’s principal said administrators neither condoned nor suppressed the walkout, assigning adults as safety monitors.
“A lot of people were emotional, people were just in tears down there – people were saying, ‘We can't just talk about this we need to do something about this,’” Biringanine said. “We wanted to come together as youth and that's something people didn't have: how to put this together.”
After the walkout, at which students held banners displaying the names of all 17 Parkland victims and the hashtag #NeverAgain, Biringanine said more events at more schools are needed, to both prepare Alaskan students and offer solidarity with last week’s survivors.
“We're going to raise awareness that our school could be next and we just can't sit around and wait,” Biringanine said. “We need to show Florida that we're sad, we're crying for them.”
The Anchorage School District’s superintendent, Dr. Deena Bishop, has said procedures at ASD are being reviewed in the wake of last week’s deaths.
ASD spokeswoman Catherine Esary said Wednesday that no students participating in Wednesday's walkouts will face disciplinary action for doing so.
Cassie Schirm and Nick Swann contributed information to this story.
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