Shoreline teens walk out for gun control

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Shorecrest and Kellogg students gather in front of Shorecrest High School for a rally
and 17 minutes of silence for the 17 students and teachers killed in Florida.
Photo by s cho

By Madeline Rouse, SWHS senior

Students from Shorewood High School, Shorecrest High School, Einstein Middle School, and Kellogg Middle School came together on Wednesday 3/14 to participate in the nationwide school walkout demanding action on gun violence.

Shorewood students begin their march to the courthouse
Photo by Mike Remarcke
After 17 minutes in front of their own schools, signifying the 17 students and staff killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School exactly one month ago, many of the students marched to the King County District Court.

For many students, the Parkland shooting signified a major turning point.

Shorewood senior Madison Schulmerich explained why she was choosing to walk out of class: 

“This is about honoring the victims. Even though it might not make a drastic change, it still is better than nothing.” 

Payton Strain, Shorewood’s ASB President, echoed this, noting that “nothing is changing and these massacres keep happening.”

Many Shorecrest students carried hand-made signs
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
In addition to showing their support of Parkland victims, students called upon Washington State legislators to continue to pass common sense gun laws, specifically Senate Bill 5050.

The bill would ban the manufacturing, possession, distribution, import, transfer, and sale of any assault weapon or large capacity magazine.

Multiple staff members participated in the 17 minute walkout at Shorewood, including Lara Sukol, who did so in support of her students’ political power:

“We need to get young people actively engaged in the passage of laws that are gonna make them safer.” 

Sukol was joined by fellow history teacher Mikael Christensen, who agreed that “students are a powerful voice and are the ones who are directly affected by this issue. This nation needs to have a serious conversation on guns and you can’t deny the right of students to begin that conversation.” 

Shorewood students march along Meridian
Photo by Mike Remarcke
Shoreline students felt very supported by their teachers and administrators, and were appreciative of those adults who stood with them in honoring those who died last month.

Shorewood senior Rowan Hurt had a large role in the organization of the walkout and march, creating and running the instagram account @shorewoodwalkout to educate and inform students.

In front of the school, Hurt gave a moving speech to the students gathered.

“There will always be people saying that we’re only kids, that we don’t know what we’re talking about,” they started, “We’re here for the 17 kids shot dead in Parkland, for the 12 kids shot dead at Columbine, for the 20 first graders shot dead at Sandy Hook. 
"Tell them we’re here because we’re sick and tired of broken bodies being carried out of elementary schools
"We will be voters one day. Let’s show them that this movement will only gain momentum, because we’re ready for change.”

They ended by leading the crowd in chanting “Enough is enough!” before beginning the march.

Shorecrest students arrive at Cromwell Park and the District Court
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

About 500 Shoreline teens met at the courthouse, and Hurt thinks that this is a great start! A lot of inspiration and a sense of community was built up with all three schools rallying together for a common cause.

Students rally at the District Courthouse
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
However, to some the march seemed to lose much of its political focus once at the courthouse.

Shorewood junior José Luis Gandara felt that students were “trying to do too many things at once. There were students who had voting forms and a petition for students to sign to ask the Shoreline school board to pass a resolution to ask state legislators to pass SB 5050. But lots of people were standing around not knowing what to do.”

Leaders with bullhorns addressed the gathering and read letters from
Shoreline Mayor Will Hall and 7th District Congress representative
Pramila Jayapal. Students ran the show and made the speeches.
Photo by Mike Remarchke
Teacher Nathan Stearns also wouldn’t call the walkout a complete success: “It’s worth less if you don’t have some consequence,” he explained, “if there’s an unexcused absence or detention or something, they have to really care.”

This is not the first walkout staged by Shoreline students, and it will certainly not be the last.

Without representation through a vote, students feel that they have to publicly vocalize their opinions to make a political difference.

Though Shoreline, WA may be solidly on the left end of the political spectrum, there is still a lot to accomplish.

Our students are emerging as leaders for the next generation, and the nation should watch carefully to see what the future demands.


Anonymous,  March 15, 2018 at 5:48 AM  

Where is our school board? Stayed home for the day?

Our board needs to take a stand and pass a resolution calling for our legislators to pass gun reform.

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