Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Fargo joins student-led walkouts for school safety

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | March 14th, 2018

At 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, students across the country, including at Fargo's Ben Franklin Middle School, walked out of class in support of school safety - photograph by C.S. HagenFARGO – Schools in Fargo/Moorhead joined the ranks of millions of children across the nation Wednesday morning, lending their voices to the fight to keep schools safe. While some students, boisterous and playful, intermingled with others quietly sitting in solidarity at Ben Franklin Middle School, their message was clear: they know what’s going on, and they all want to feel safe and free.

The walkouts were student-led, and occurred in many middle and secondary schools at 10am, lasting for 17 minutes to remember the 17 students reportedly gunned down in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a former student, 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz.

Fargo Public Schools Spokesperson Ann Marie Campbell said the school board does not have an official response to the walkouts, but is generally supportive by not suggesting any disciplinary actions.

“We’re allowing students to have a demonstration, but we’re not using that word support, we won’t prohibit or encourage anyone who wants to participate,” Campbell said.

Ben Franklin Middle School's SRO looks on as students walkout of class Wednesday morning - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Ben Franklin Principal John Nelson, who has led the middle school since 1996, said he has asked children if they knew what they were walking out of class for, and although a small handful joined because their friends were going, most were aware of recent events in the news.

“I talked to them about civic duty, and district said that if kids decide to walk out then we are in full support of this,” Nelson said. “We aren’t going to discipline the kids for doing so. Kids are going to try and have a message and a purpose here, and some of the conversations I’ve tried to have with the kids are, ‘What are you walking out for? What are you supporting?’”

While some students played, others sat, or stood silently in solidarity with schools across the nation - photograph by C.S. Hagen

One student ran back into the school crying shortly before the students’ 17 minutes expired, troubled that not all students were being silent, Nelson said. He reassured her that many students have taken the issues of school safety to heart.

While the School Resource Officer stood guard nearby, seventh grader Lulu Espinoza waved a handmade sign saying gun control was needed.

“Enough is enough, books not bullets,” the sign also read. Classmates signed their names to the placard. Some children held up simpler signs reading “17.” Others held posters saying, “Fear has no place in school.”

“Why do we children have to suffer for government decisions, when we’re out here supporting the kids whose lives have been taken away,” Espinoza said.

“I’m out here because I want all schools to have the safety,” Kate Lill, a seventh grader said.

“I’m freezing for the children,” Kaylee Kern, a seventh grader, said. Despite the sunshine, she shivered in the 35-degree weather.

Student holds up a sign during the 17-minute Ben Franklin Middle School walkout - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Timi Shorunke, a sixth grader, put himself in the shoes of the families suffering losses from recent gun shootings.

“If it was my family, the way I would feel, people need to start using guns the right way,” Shorunke said.

“We just need to have more gun laws,” Aiden Prince, a sixth grader, said. “We need to raise the age limit to buy guns. You can buy a gun before you’re 21, but you can’t buy a beer.”

“I feel like kids should be able to go to school and not worry about being shot or killed,” Emily Gorder, a seventh grader said. “This isn’t something we have to worry about so far in Fargo, but I feel for those places that have had these things happen.”

Students’ concerns extended to bullying, saying that reports indicate that Cruz was bullied during high school.

“Kids should be kinder to each other,” Jack Dickinson, a seventh grader said. “This kid was highly bullied, and that is not okay.”

Other children said banning assault-style rifles may not be the answer because attackers might switch to bombs instead.

Students displaying the signs they made during the student-led walkout at Ben Franklin Middle School - photograph by C.S. Hagen

“Kids around the country are scared to go to school, and that should not be happening,” Audrey Kemmer, a seventh grader, said.

Safety is what Kemmer wants, she said, and her school offers her that protection.

“If there was something terrible happening or like a zombie attack this is the one place I would run to for protection,” another student said.

Ludden Ahmed, a seventh grader, said she felt sad for the people who died, and although she feels safe at Ben Franklin Middle School, the idea that someone could come into the school wanting to do harm is a disturbing thought that has been the focus of family conversations.

Some students were playful, glad for the 17 minute break, others were more solemn, sitting or standing quietly - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Recently in:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Policy, not law, has torn more than 2,300 children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although immigration reform has been a heated topic for decades, the policy of zero tolerance began with a…

Culture

​Dream factory

by HPR Contributor

By Oscar de Leonoscarldeleonjr@gmail.comTucked away near the rolling hills of West Hollywood, Chris Haskell, a former student at MSUM, makes his usual trek into his office where he edits footage to craft trailers to some of the…

Monday, June 25, 7 p.m.Sanctuary Events Center, 670 4th Ave N, Fargo It’s no surprise that Q magazine dubbed The Flaming Lips one of the "50 Bands to See Before You Die," with their elaborate stage shows and multi-layered…

Just last week Raul and I were driving a rental car on the backroads of Mallorca, a small Mediterranean Island off the coast of Spain. Not gonna lie, my nose may or may not have been pressed hard against the window admiring the…

Ireland Has Sent Pope Francis and The Vatican A Dear John Letter: “It’s Over!”The Irish people and the Vatican have been developing a huge cultural grand canyon for decades over the issues of gender identities,…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

Every year the Fargo Moorhead area celebrates its love of food with Restaurant week. Each restaurant involved prepares a special menu to showcase the best of what they have to offer. This year there are seventeen restaurants…

Front Street Taproom has struck up a relation with local record shop, Vinyl Giant. There are two events where turntables are set up and people can play their records. Every Wednesday they host Vinyl Night from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.…

Scaring up early buzz as a premiere in the Midnight section of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” is the horror film of the year. Anchored by the vital performance of Toni Collette as grieving,…

By Tayler Klimektklimek@cord.eduCome one, come all to the 59th anniversary of the Midwestern Invitational Art Exhibition! This tradition celebrates each year with a preview and awards selection the first night of its showing, with…

Projects have a tendency to take on a life of their own once they’ve reached a certain point. When the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre was established in 1946 to offer other local opportunities for artistic expression outside…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comHow lucky we are in the FM area that we have so many craft breweries, but did you know that we also have two cider houses? Cottonwood Cider House is one of those cider houses and is just a short…

Best Local CelebrityCarson WentzBest Stylist / BarberJed Felix, Everett’s BarbershopBest Salon / Barber ShopEverett’s BarbershopBest Tattoo Parlor46 & 2 TattooBest Tattoo ArtistMeg Felix, No Coast TattooBest Gift ShopZandbroz…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

Last Word

​Keeping FM C.L.E.A.N

by HPR Contributor

By Paul JensenFargo, as the most populous city in the state with 120,000 inhabitants, added nearly 6,000 20-to-34-year-olds in 2015, just over five percent of the total population. Fargo is attracting well-educated young…