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. - Savanna’s Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on Friday and will move to the U.S. House of Representatives.The bill, S. 1942, is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.comI held it off for as long as I could, but the other day, I caved. I thought I was doing okay. I made all the strong arguments. I applied the five canons of rhetoric, just like you’re supposed…

Saturday, December 15th, 3-6pmJunkyard Brewing Company, 1416 1st Ave N, MoorheadCome bare the elements with us for a good cause. Bring your spare winter gear to be donated to Churches United for the Homeless. Coats, gloves, boots,…

by Josh Boscheejoshua.boschee@yahoo.comphoto courtesy of Mitch MarrEight words that perfectly describe the beautiful spirit of Kim Winnegge."I have given my whole life to words."Those of us who knew her remember these words as a…

Gadfly

Affluenza

by Ed Raymond

What happens if conspicuous consumption becomes global?The latest National Geographic has an editorial “The Global Peril of Inequality” by UCLA Professor Jared Diamond which the entire world should read. The author of many…

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…

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comUs North Dakotans love our Knoephla soup. I am no exception. I have fond childhood memories of sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen making this dumpling soup. From then until today, my taste buds go…

Music

Snow and Flurry

by HPR Contributor

by Jacques Harvieux jacquesthejock@gmail.comMosh pit etiquette 101: The mosh pit is located front and center of the stage.Create a sizeable ring.When the music starts unleash mayhem. If you fall - get up immediately.If somebody…

“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller beautifully translates another personal autobiography to excellent results. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is based on the confessional 2008 memoir of literary forger Lee…

SEBEKA, Minnesota – Nearly a century ago the nation was racked by inclement weather, soaring unemployment, and despair following World War I and the lucrative Roaring 20s. The 1930s were an era of dust storms and lunch lines,…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.comFargo-Moorhead Community Theatre presents “A Christmas Story: The Musical” which is underway at the Stage at Island Park and will run through December 22. It has been promoted as a show both…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comphotography by Logan MacraeEver wish you could go to your favorite brewery without leaving your house? Finally, you can (sort of). Kilstone Brewing is now doing limited can releases of some…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

“(Søren) Kierkegaard…has opened our eyes to the shallowness of much of our pseudo-Christian life, and to the outright deception in politics which Christianity has been made to serve.” - William Hubben“The people starve…