Approximately 40 students participated, many with differing views on the issue of gun control. “I felt like it was important to participate today just for the kids and all the people that were dying. We needed this 17 minutes to recognize that,” said GCHS junior Preston Barlow. “There definitely needs to be change with gun control and gun violence.”
Another student who overheard The Times-Independent’s interview with Barlow shouted from a distance, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
GCHS Principal Dr. Steve Hren and Vice Principal Mary Marable were present during the walkout. Marable addressed the students, stating, “I think we hit on a lot of different issues, but it’s really about valuing each other. One thing that you can do that a teenager suggested was to do 17 nice things today.”
She also noted the importance of opening up a dialogue on campus, and applauded the students for using their voices. “We all communicate a lot with this,” Marable said, holding up her phone, “but it’s really easy to hide behind this … to say things that are harmful or send things that are harmful, so what you’re doing right now is really the basis of communication that’s really going to make a difference.”
Hren also added to the dialogue while addressing his students.
“What I see in this country, we’re at a point of division (and) extreme views, and anytime you have extreme views, nothing is going to really get accomplished because all people do is attack each other ... we need to have relationships, we need to have rapport so students feel good about talking to someone if there is an issue,” Hren said. “The only way to stop school violence is to stop it before it happens.”