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Students Reflect Gun Control Debate, Protest

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Photo Courtesy National School Walkout

The Parkland, Fla., school shooting continues to inspire activism around the gun control debate, including protests last week throughout the United States, and a planned sequel to the nationwide school walkout from earlier this month, scheduled for April 20. SNC Tahoe was out of session for spring break during the March walkout.

For the April 20 event, students across the nation are expected to protest against gun violence, with a 17-minute walkout, symbolizing the 17 students and teachers killed in Parkland.

The walkout is planned for 10 a.m. Another distinction of this event is that it is also the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, where 15 lives were taken. High schools throughout Reno and Carson City are signed up to participate in the event, including Depoali Middle School, Galena High School, Reno High School, and Spanish Springs High School. SNC is not currently on the list, but students are given the opportunity to create their own events to express their political beliefs.

Will Hoida, dean of students, feels it is important for students to participate actively in politics to support the causes that they believe in and that “peaceful demonstrations of protest” can be one way to do this.

“If members from our student body feel strongly about bringing more attention to gun control laws in our country then they should consider participating in the walkout if they think that action will help achieve this goal,” he said.

Shannon Beets, provost and executive vice president, said that “whatever side of the issue we may be on, I think everyone would agree that the right to peaceful protest is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal as citizens and community members.

“I commend all students, both in Tahoe and nationally, for wrestling with these difficult choices and for engaging in this national conversation.”

 Gabby Ariganello, a senior psychology major, finds it “truly inspiring” that students as young as middle school are standing up for this particular issue.

“The more individuals that are involved, the more power we have to promote change in gun regulation,” she said. “The sad part is how many students have to die before we see it.”
Ariganello said she would be willing to partake in this event, especially if her peers were involved, and that there should at least be an option to participate.

“The college should set a platform for discussion about laws surrounding guns aside from Facebook and Twitter,” she said. “Every student doesn’t have to participate, but give an opportunity to mourn the loss of those 17 students and staff members.”

Ryan Knuppenburg, a senior psychology major, believes that the walkout “may be flawed” due to no real unity or solution, and in order to send a real message to our politicians “millennials all need to vote.”

“I believe that the most important thing our leaders could be doing is supporting cooperation between all of us no matter what we believe or where we come from,” he said.
“I think if schools and if SNC were to participate, they and us should have clear goals and help educate those who attend how to better enact societal change. We should be figuring out solutions to the problems and maybe at the end of the event develop a clear set of decisions which everybody could support.”

June Saraceno, English program chair, admires the “high school students’ moral leadership” and admires that they are pushing for more responsible gun laws while “taking a stand to protect themselves.

“It’s sad that it falls to them to do this, to be the voice that says, ‘Enough is enough’ and lead the way to counter gun violence including school shootings,” she said.
“The adults in charge should have addressed this long before now.”

Visit nationalschoolwalkout.us to learn more about the event.

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Students Reflect Gun Control Debate, Protest