Sage Creek Walks Out on Gun Violence


Morgan Mayorga

Students congregate at the field to observe the speeches and the reading of the Parkland victim’s name.

February 14, 2018. A malicious act of violence saw the lives of 17 students tragically extinguished. National outrage is at an all-time high, seeing protests across the country. Generation Z is becoming increasingly politically active and outspoken on the issue of gun control. On March 14, one month after the Valentine’s Day massacre, there was a nationwide school walkout held in honor of the victims and to call the government to action.

The students at Sage Creek are no different than other students, with many walking out of their second period classes at 10 a.m. to support the cause. The group initially gathered at the grass patch on the academic mall where many students mingled with each other and general words were exchanged. Shortly after a group amassed, they slowly made their way down to the field in order for a moment of silence and speeches. Senior Pixel Clark attended the march and expressed her irritation with the actions, or lack thereof in the government

“Less thoughts and prayers, more action,” Clark said.

Students will face the consequences of walking out of class— an unexcused absence— but administration will not punish students more than above average because they were holding a protest. Students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they enter school campus. Those First Amendment rights were at the heart of many participants alongside a wide variety of reasons for walking out. Protesters walked out to express solidarity with victims of the shooting, some hoped to pressure the government to act, and others were just curious to see other sides of the argument.

“I am walking out today because there needs to be stricter gun laws, especially on assault rifles,” sophomore Sydney Ahrendt said “…a revision of the Second Amendment.”

The general consensus for legislation was a ban on assault style weapons, many students do not want the law to go further than this, due to the Second Amendment. Others want an increase in the age requirement for owning firearms. The speakers during the walkout all expressed desire for students to become more active in the political field and use their voices.

“[We] have access to the most powerful tool, our voices,” claimed senior Logan McAndrews.

Alongside McAndrews, senior Áine Kern, senior Frances Parrott, and junior Sophia Park all spoke. During one moment of silence, Park read the names of each victim from the Parkland shooting. Following this moment of silence, the student speeches began. McAndrews, Kern, and Parrott all delivered short speeches delivered off of their notes.

McAndrews spoke first and focused on the impact the shooting had on community and the impact that high schoolers can have on the national conversation. McAndrews felt their needed to be an education on the use of firearms and mental health, all over the nation. Closing with the current generation’s ability to influence.

“It’s our generation’s chance to make history,” McAndrews said.

Following each student speech there was general applause and cheering. The event ended with one last moment of silence, both the crowd and speakers raised their fists in a sign of unity, echoing Parrott’s calls for universal action among high schoolers and cooperation towards a common goal.

“It’s a step towards a future where we can all be safe,” said Parrott.

Despite the widespread participation in the student body, many students walked out but not to show support for the cause. Some had the intention of acting as a counter protester and others just wanted to learn about the argument being made. Many of those students remained at the top of the athletic mall as the protesters walked to the field.

“I just wanted to see what they were going to talk about, I don’t support nor do I go against them,” said senior Braden Cornwall.

Alongside the students at the top many members of Sage Creek’s administration watched the protest take place. None could participate with the students, but observed in order to maintain calm, if the protest got rowdy. Luckily nothing went awry and the group quickly dispersed.

“The students were well organized and I feel, fulfilled their purpose,” remarked Principal Céasar Morales.

After the Parkland shooting, Sage Creek has made some effort to improve school safety and policy. The policies were reviewed and there has been communication between the police and administration as they strive to keep students safe. The key aspect of safety measures is the school’s closed campus policy, with the gate remaining closed during the day with only one entrance, through the office. Administration makes special efforts to make sure everyone on campus should be on campus and identified while they’re there. One concern of the school has been monitoring mental health and making sure everyone’s needs are being met, when applicable.

“If anybody’s not [in a good place], we’re helping them, we’re giving them assistance, if they need it,” explained Vice Principal Bill Lorde.

The walkout ended with students returning to class and the day continuing on an unaltered schedule. This has been the second walkout in Sage Creek history, with students demonstrating their First Amendment Rights in a way that was significant to Sage Creek.