Walk outs to protest gun violence in light of the school shooting in Florida were held today at the high school and middle school, despite an online social media threat just before school began.
At the high school, about 45 students attended the walk out in the gym; at the middle school, about 125 students.
“We are not here to talk about a Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal issue,” said sophomore Caroline Rooney. “We are here because of all the shootings that are happening across the country. This is a No Place for Fear. We have to do something about this now.”
Sophomore Julia Carroll encouraged students to become active in the process. “If you are 18 and can vote, please register,” she said. “We need to be the ones that makes change happen. It is up to all of us to raise our voices and to stop this.”
Glenville and Scotia police are investigating the online social media threat that was made this morning. Many students at the high school and middle school saw the threat made against the walk out rallies. The threat did not mention Scotia-Glenville specifically. Police are trying to determine whether the threat was made by a Scotia-Glenville student or not. At the high school, about 160 students signed out and were released to their parents.
“We are here today with two major goals,” said High School Principal Peter Bednarek. “We want to remember those who lost their lives at Parkland (Florida school) and to raise awareness about school safety and what we are doing here. School safety is something that we are very concerned about; we want you to have your voices heard about school safety.”
He asked everyone to stand in silence for 17 minutes – one minute for each student who was killed at the Florida school.
The event was organized by sophomores Cassie Sigond and Kolton Heft working with Bednarek and others at the high school.
He also discussed the fact that visitors now have to be buzzed into the high school and can only enter after identifying themselves to the monitor on duty at the front desk. And that all exterior doors are locked after school starts each day. “It may be inconvenient to some people, but we are dong this for everybody’s safety and to make the high school a safer place,” he added.
He said the Building Response Team meets regularly with police and school safety personnel to ensure that the building continues to meet the highest standards for safety.
Superintendent Susan Swartz said she understood that some students were feeling uneasy about being safe at school. “If you feel that way, find somebody to talk to,” she said. A school counselor. A teacher. An administrator. A friend. “The worse thing you can do is to be alone or feel along with your feelings. Please talk to somebody about them,” she added.
“As much as educating you is very important to all of us, having you feel safe at school is more important,” said Swartz. “That’s very important to us.”
Here are some pictures from today’s event: