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Cultural Change, Not a Political One, Behind Lewiston H.S. Walkout

LHS WALKOUT.jpg

Lewiston High School students participated in the National School Walkout on March 14th, honoring victims of not only the Parkland School Shooting, but naming off other schools like Columbine or Freeman High School.

The somber ceremony in the rain started at 10 A.M. Wednesday. Several students gathered in a school field for 17 minutes, in unity with thousands of other schools across the country.

Mason Bartholomei, ASB President, says, "Students are sick and tired of this and we just want a safe place for us to learn."

Over three thousand miles away and exactly a month after Parkland's tragedy, a student-organized event, 17 minutes long for the 17 victims, had students braving the weather for a greater purpose.

School resource Officer Rob Massey says, "Across the country right now, thousands of other people are doing this same thing."

But Bartholomei says though part of the national movement, their walkout wasn't a protest. "Nothing political, nothing about banning guns, any of that."

Instead the students were encouraging one another. "A big driving force of these events is that students feel left out," Bartholomei says.

Through sometimes very personal stories, the students encouraged reaching out to one another.

One student told about her battle with suicidal thoughts, "What changed me was one day someone at school decided to hang out with me for the entire day. And that one day is what flipped a switch in my brain. From that moment on, I try every single day to be the person I needed for two years and didn't have."

The hope is that a change in culture, where unity and respect are the norm, students will not only feel empowered, but safe.

"High school is hard. High school sucks sometimes. So I encourage everyone to choose kindness," one student said.

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