IssuesVoices

Students react after Buffalo High School’s safety week

Were student voices truly heard?

Following the 17 minute assembly on March 14th at Buffalo High School, some students and community members were left touched and inspired by their peers’ words and the message of unity at the walk-in event. Now that BHS is wrapping up it’s week dedicated to student safety and community, students weighed in on their overall opinion of walk-in. Many students were ambivalent toward the event, but positivity dominated the discussion after the week.

Audrey Green

Junior Audrey Green was one of the many students who attended the BHS walk-in, not knowing what to expect. When asked about her opinion on how it went, Green felt an overwhelming amount of positivity and a stronger sense of community while also touching on student safety.

“I think it was comforting for students to know that the community’s doing something about it now, or they’re talking about it other than just putting it away,” Green said. “With the school safety aspect I think it’s a very responsible way to approach this, kind of disregarding the whole gun side of it because there’s kids with different opinions, but I hope we take this assembly and we put it into action.”

Chloe Reineccius

“It wasn’t a walk-out like everyone wanted, but I think Mischke did it for the 17 people,” Junior Chloe Reineccius said. “He really wanted us all to feel connected and comfortable enough to come to school.”

She felt the walkout was a thoughtful way to honor the recent events at Parkland High School, opting for a more positive opinion among students. Even though it didn’t reach what other students hoped for, Reineccius thought it was an experience to remember.

Though many students felt this left a positive impact on themselves and their community, a few others thought differently. As students, local law enforcement members, and administrators piled into the gym at BHS for the walk-in assembly, five unfearful girls had an opposing plan which included having their own walk-out in the front entrance of the school.

The Fighting Five

Among the group of students who responded with their heartwarming reactions came a group who demanded for their voices to be heard – in their own way. While at the assembly, it was reported many kids were talking over Principal Mark Mischke, or even laughing at the seriousness of it all. Junior Lilly Ragab weighed in on the issue, saying most kids used this tribute as an excuse to leave class, not because they cared about the content of it.

“You can’t be using trauma and tragedy of actual people across the country in order to get out of class, that’s extremely disrespectful to be using someone else’s trauma and tragedy for your own game.” Ragab said. Along with Ragab in the group of five, two freshman joined the walk-out in front of the school, one of them being Laura Mackenthun. Although the assembly met her respective idea of a tribute, she felt students voices needed to be heard more; and not just to administration.

“The walk-out is a nationwide thing to help people higher up know the problem and even though our one school couldn’t really help, no one was really there to hear what we had to say about it,” Mackenthun said. “But the nation all together made a difference to help people notice what was happening.”

Fellow freshman Kealani Borba nodded in agreement, sharing a similar opinion.

“I think that just us five, we definitely did have a voice but there’s so many other opportunities,” Borba expressed. “There’s a book reading, the March for our Lives next weekend at the state capitol, there are so many other ways to use your voice, it doesn’t have to be just in school.”

She continued to speak out on how she felt people could make a difference in society outside of school, sharing her hope for a safer place and for regulations to ensure that.

The leaders of the walk-out, Junior Chloe Paul and Senior Grace Happe, shared similar disappointment, stressing the idea of students voices needing to be heard. They both believed admin had more say in it than was originally planned, making it clear that they would’ve rather had more students voice their opinion.

“We missed out on history then,” Happe stated, “I have a lot of feelings about it. We have to keep pushing and pushing and working towards it. I’m 18 – I have stuff to do. My main priority shouldn’t be being worried at school. But it is.”

Chloe shared the same frustrations in result of the walk-in, giving more reasoning for their group
Walk-out. Unbeknownst to them at the time of the assembly, they’d later find themselves walking out of the front doors. They all claimed how they’d never been in trouble, or ever gotten a talking to for that matter. While they were all nervous, Paul stated it was something that made her feel proud – like she was making a difference.

“There’s a ton of people out there that don’t know that we actually walked out. It just felt good to know it my heart that, like, I walked out to say, this needs to stop,” Paul said in regard to stricter gun laws in schools. Happe and Paul reflected on the recent events and make it known that their purpose was more political. They will continue to work toward the goal they are trying to achieve, all while keeping a positive light in hope of one day reaching it for themselves, and people who are looking to have their voices heard.

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Devyn Thulin

Nobody knows how to pronounce my last name.

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