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JHS Student Walkout Supports Gun Control, Non-participants Sugge - KOAM TV 7

JHS Student Walkout Supports Gun Control, Non-participants Suggest More Outreach

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin students exercise their right to free speech to join a nationwide walkout to call for change after the Florida school shootings.
 For a school with more than two thousand students it was a small percentage walking out of class today but they hope to have a big impact.
          Some of the students were very emotional at the protest saying they live in fear  for others it’s a time of frustration.

Courtney Kissee spoke into a microphone, "This power is the strength to use our voices to invoke change in our world."
 

The Joplin sophomore coordinated the walkout that drew about one hundred seventy-five students even after being required to get their parents permission.  Kissee wanted to do more than just honor the Florida school shooting victims.

Kissee said,
I remember after the pulse nightclub shooting how I felt and then this happened. I felt even  worse about it and I decided to stop being angry about stuff and start doing stuff to make change.
 
 The seventeen minute peaceful protest had students with signs and impassioned speeches by Kissee and four others. Samuel Peterson talked about four freedoms  mentioned by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Peterson explained,
The freedom of speech being firs,t freedom from fear being the fourth.  I think its important we exercise  the first in defense of the fourth so we make sure our students  feel safe in their classroom  and that they use their voice to articulate that fact. And that they have their opinions put across  in a way that is respectful and reasonable.
Their goal is to start a conversation. Annaliese Voorhees elaborated,
Everyone who goes to school should care about school safety and I really wanted to see more of that conversation that had been  happening across the nation, happen here. And having a role in something that could potentially be  so big could be this massive movement is incredibly important to me. 
 But the walkout was draped in a call for gun control.
Kissee said,
But theres still legislation and laws that have to be fixed in order to prevent these shootings from happening.
 

And that gun control focus was why other students chose not to walkout
Jakob Butler, a Joplin high junior said,
I  think it cant  be limited to one area such as guns. 
While Lexi Daniell said gun law are strict enough they  just need to be enforced. She agreed there
s more to the problem saying, It  can be a bigger issue. I feel its about kids being lonely.

Butler said hes been  bullied and been the lonely kid and said others dont come to talk to you.
Like Lexi and Jakob, Addy Koch thinks much of solving school violence needs to happen in school. And she instead of protesting,  chose to be part of the social media  movement calling on kids to walkup not out. Today she planned to walkup  to seventeen kids sitting alone and say something nice. Not walkout.

Addy explained,
Yes, there are somethings that could change with the laws and stuff  to make it more, harder for those types of things to happen but it also has to do with the people and how we treat other people and  that will make them react that way."

The administration offered a written statement saying it supports students expression of free speech  and those with signed permission slips received no negative consequences for the seventeen minute peaceful protest.

         

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