Courtesy Geneley Childress/Flatline Cinema

Student Leaders at Stephenson HS Organize Walkout.

By Julien Virgin

March 14, 2018 - 6:33 pm

Despite the frigid cold, hundreds of students at Stephenson High School in Dekalb County participated in a nationwide student walkout this morning.

The goal of the demonstration was to raise awareness on gun reform and commemorate the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at a Florida High school last month. 

“There has been a gross negligence in the state and the government that has led to multiple school shootings throughout the country, resulting in the deaths of students like myself and my fellow peers,” said student leader Kevin Nwogu as he addressed a crowd of his peers adding, "We're tired of the thoughts and prayers, we want action.”

Stephenson High’s student leaders organized the entire student led walkout.  

The commemoration included an opening statement, followed by a performance by the ‘New Generation Coral Singers’, a student-read poem, and ended with students releasing 17 balloons into the sky; one for each victim in the Parkland shooting.

Courtesy Geneley Childress/Flatline Cinema

Administration, staff and faculty helped students throughout the demonstration by providing them a PA system and a safe environment to allow their voices to be heard.

“We support our scholars right to free speech and to peacefully assemble, but we want to make sure we have an area conducive for that,” said Stephenson High School Principal Michael Jones.

Multiple officers from the Dekalb county police department aided in the efforts to keep students within the staging area inside the schools parking lot. 

“I know the mere presence of my position inhibits their creativity,” said Principal Jones adding, “Our role is basically as an advisory, making sure they fall within the parameters.”

Fellow student leader Raevin Johnson praised the administration for their willingness to assist during the walkout.

“They were very supportive of our decision because they know we’re the future, they know we can make change because we have a voice, and they support our voice,” said Johnson.

As student leaders Johnson and Nwogu say they plan to continue to raise awareness on the issue of gun law reform moving forward. “It’s important that we feel safe here, it’s up to us to make the change.”