Dunkirk Students To Take Part In National Walkout Day
DUNKIRK — Sabien Smith stepped up to the front of the Board of Education meeting with mannerisms of a professional public speaker and said — not asked — that the students of Dunkirk High School are going to do a walk out in honor of those who passed at the school shooting in Florida.
It’ll be a part of the National Walk Out Day by the National Honor Society. The walk out will be Wednesday around 10 a.m.
“We put a plan together to go outside, go to the football field, possibly let off balloons for each minute for each student that was tragically killed. We are kind of coming to a crossroad of a couple others that argue it’s not educational or so they say.”
Smith stressed that it was not for a political agenda. The student body wants to give a 17-minute memorial to the 17 students who passed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting – a minute for each death.
“We don’t want it to be a political manner,” Smith said. “That’s what a lot of people try to make this into. There will never be a right or wrong answer. … (We’ll) give the kids the memorial they deserve. That’s how I feel about it.”
Dunkirk Superintendent Dr. James Tracy acknowledged that some school districts may act different, but he and the board were in full support.
“In some schools, they have the attitude that you’re not allowed to do this and if you actually do this, you’ll get suspended or detention,” Tracy said. “I commend our students for trying to make a statement that you care about what happened and hoping to make changes. … Our students have a voice and I hope they use it.”
Tracy saw this action by Smith and those who helped coordinate the event as a learning experience. The students are learning to lead a group and make an impact.
“Rather than punish kids for having a voice, I would rather encourage them to do it productively and in a positive way,” Dr. Tracy said.
For students not interested in participating in the event, Smith stated they aren’t forced to and that the bleachers will be hopefully cleared for seating, depending on the weather.