Algonquin’s Walkout: Silence, pledge, speeches, visiting senator, and more

by beth on March 14, 2018

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Above: With many Boston area schools cancelled today, at least one news chopper headed to Northborough for footage of a student walkout. (image from WCVB video)

This morning, Algonquin students participated in the National Walkout protest. But this wasn’t a storm out. Organizers used social media to share an organized plan for the mostly-silent event.

On Facebook, organizers clarified that their beef wasn’t with their school’s administration:

To be clear, the walkout is not against the school administration and it is not organized by the administration. This is a peaceful, student-run protest to in support of the Parkland community and the movement to end violence. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions/concerns.

In order to participate, students were required to sign an online pledge before midnight yesterday.* Although billed as a 17 minute walkout, another 10 minutes were built in to get from and back to classes. And students were invited to a one hour forum with State Senator Jamie Eldridge later in the morning.

The event agenda stressed silence but included some outdoor speeches:

  • 9:57 am – registered students were to silently rise and meet outside
  • 10:00 – 10:04 am: moment of silence in honor of victims of the Parkland, FL shooting
  • 10:05 – 10:10 am: student speeches focused on student empowerment and student-led change
  • 10:11 – 10:16 am: silence, with reading aloud of the victims’ names during the last minute of silence
  • 10:18 – 10:24 am: return to classes silently

To continue advocacy for their cause, follow up activities were also encouraged. One of those was Eldridge addressing students and answering questions during 5th period (11:00 am – 12:00 pm which overlapped lunch). Topics to be covered included mental health and gun laws.

In addition, students could use their lunch time to participate in a voter registration drive, a letter writing campaign (to victims and politicians), and recording of video condolence messages.

*I wasn’t able to view a copy of the student pledge. It was made available online to students with school email accounts.

1 Mike March 15, 2018 at 9:30 AM

You know I’m very much a conservative, and very pro both first and second amendment. I think this organized memorial is very good because it was orderly. I think there’s many issues, the least of which is the gun. The larger issues are what’s going on with young men in America? What drugs have they been on for years? What other factors lead to religious violence? And should we at the very least have some sort of scanning devices at the doors of schools?

2 n March 15, 2018 at 12:16 PM

Take a look at the story of Harris Rosen, a man making a difference.

3 Kate March 15, 2018 at 2:30 PM

Mike, I’d hazard a guess that what’s happening with young men in America is the same as what’s happening with young men all around the globe. The difference is that in the U.S., they have easy access to guns. And we see the results every single day.

4 Mike March 16, 2018 at 9:04 AM

Kate, what would you propose if you think that firearms are the issue? Do you propose a peaceful nation like Finland where by there own count 50-60% of the men are alcoholics and have self induces medical coma? The problem is self created by our society and human choices. Keep in mind we are a constitutional government thank God. It seems most want to go after the guns, but the root issues remain, boys on prescription drugs for anxiety, ADD etc. (I am told 40-60% of young people under 30 years old? Both legal and illegally obtained), violent hollywood movies (hypocrites), violent video games, an over aggressive feminist agenda (not my wife and girls feminism which I subscribe too but the radical national feminism) population trying and I believe succeeding at eventually subjugating men where all parties loose, and an internet that is as creepy as the day is long. I do not say any of these comments with malice, except toward the arts, which makes up life and life emulates art, not the other way around as we have been told to over the years.

5 Kate March 16, 2018 at 2:36 PM

Thanks for the question, Mike. I believe that sensible gun control certainly would be a start. Perhaps taking a serious look at reality rather than fear-based gun ownership (“I need to protect myself from the government, thieves, etc. etc.”) might be in order. Sorry, I don’t have much experience with Finnish society, so I can’t speak to that, though I do know from my university studies that studies have been done on the high incidence of mental health problems in the west of Ireland, and there’s little to no gun violence there, because there are few guns, and no gun culture to speak of in the Republic of Ireland. From my perspective, as long as the human brain exists, we will continue to have mental health issues. Doing all we can to control the damage caused when somebody suffers from a mental health issue simply makes sense to me. Gun violence and video games? Only seems to be a problem in the US; feminists and guns? You’d have to explain. I simply don’t see the connection. I agree on the self-created piece – it appears to me that we’ve decided that it’s more important that we have access to guns than that we have gun ownership controlled. It’s good that we’re having a conversation about this issue, which is taking far too many lives in this country

6 Louise Barron March 15, 2018 at 3:26 PM

Mike You are correct. Metal detectors must be installed in all schools. I’m sure there is other up to date safety, detection, monitoring assets that could be utilized as well. Qualified armed individuals must also monitor the schools. Mental Illness is at the heart of the problem with school violence and violence in general. The question is what causes the mental and emotional issues. For that solution, it will need a lot more than a column in a local newspaper. That is a societal issue.

7 Mike March 16, 2018 at 9:09 AM

Hi Louise, Yes, I agree. I know people will go off their rockers but if students were aware that there were say 10 safes with firearms in them we would have a well armed citizenship to deter gun violence. At least try it liberals and see if it works in the short term right? If you cant take the 600 million firearms in the US, at least try this to see if it works for now. Nazi Germany never did attack Switzerland because I believe Hitler and his minions knew there was a gun in every home mandated by the Swiss government.

8 n March 16, 2018 at 10:43 AM

Would you support gun ownership rights in line with Switzerland?

Gun ownership per capita is not as high as the U.S. but their incidence of gun violence is a fraction of what we experience.

9 Kate March 16, 2018 at 2:16 PM

@n: Switzerland & guns – if you’ve read about this, it’s clear that there are differences regarding gun availability and ownership, not to mention a difference in culture. First of all, Switzerland mandates military service, so the population takes the responsibility of gun ownership very seriously, and the Swiss use guns for sport and the defense of their country. Obviously this is a very different viewpoint than the individualistic one (“I need a gun for self-defense”) inherent in US culture. Gun laws are strict, and when there have been incidents of gun violence, the Swiss government has acted quickly to put more safeguards in place. In fact, the conversation on this topic in Switzerland right now revolves around a concern that US-type gun incidents may be on the rise there. It will be interesting to see how they respond. As we have seen with recent events here, the US government is loathe to take a strong position on this issue

10 Kate March 16, 2018 at 2:22 PM

Mike, I wonder if you’ve considered the notion that perhaps Hilter didn’t attack Switzerland in part because it was simply impractical – the country is a vast expanse of snowy mountains, with few natural resources. I’m sure that the fact that the populace was well-prepared to defend itself was a factor too, but I’d very much doubt that it was the main reason Switzerland maintained a neutral position in WWII

11 mike March 19, 2018 at 9:35 AM

Hi Kate, No, nothing was impractical for Hitler, Switzerland was a wealthy and well to do place and nothing was beyond Hitlers reach ie. England, Africa etc. Those ideas as well as the notion that Hitler had his money stored there is all hyperbole (even if he had 100M DM he wold be glad to take 1000x that). The only solid theory is the guns people had allowed them to defend themselves and they were a sold deterrent. It is the same theory in the defense of your own hom or person, if someone knows there is a chance of being shot, they think more about it. That’s my defense of 10 safes with guns in them in each school. As a legal gun owner and a thoughtful historian, I think, what good would my hunting rifle be to a militarized modern force, truthfully, not much, BUT, I do think the deterrent is there and I do not think most Americans would want to die attacking other law abiding Americans, at least not yet. But I do believe the evil in this world and evil people that are charismatic-ally supercharged with super naughtiness are incredibly persuasive, just look at the history of the Jew and even modern day in this so called age of enlightenment, how the anti-Semite world wants to still attack and eradicate the Jewish people only for being Jews. Solomon said at the end of his wonderful treatise in the book of Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing new under the sun” and you and I have to deal with the root cases of anger, violence and murder which is a broken world, government, family and persons. Pills do not fix, they only cover the root cause, and only for a short period of time until the sickness morphs into another sickness. We need to take care of our young and start in pre-school to make sure they are all integrated into the classroom and world experience – accepted. Even if different, we all need to feel wanted or at least appreciated for who we are.

12 Louise Barron March 16, 2018 at 4:23 PM

STOP all of you. Gun violence IS NOT the issue. Mental illness is at the root of all evil.
If you don’t have psychological, emotional, illness issues, you are not going to take an AR 15, hand gun, semi auto or anything else and kill kids. My god. The kids sadly are being used as pawns in what shouldn’t be political, but is. We must attack this very serious problem rationally. Now take a deep breath.

13 beth March 16, 2018 at 5:09 PM

The kids aren’t being used as pawns. They are teenagers with minds and fears of their own.

Your assumption that they can’t form their own opinions is condescending and insulting.

Imagine how insulted you’d feel if someone claimed that you were just a pawn of right wing politician’s propaganda. (Obviously you’ve been influenced by it. But does that mean you don’t have the faculties to make up your own mind?)

And you’re prescription to “breathe” is infuriating.

I am so sick of the argument that guns are not the problem.

Yes, without guns someone evil can still do something bad to someone you love. But Parents and students should not have to worry about the fact that mentally ill or evil people have easy access to weapons of rapid destruction. Because that is esssentially what some of these guns are.

I will never understand people who take the second amendment so far as to think there should be no common sense changes to gun control.

I would not be allowed to have bombs in my basement. So why should I be allowed to buy guns that quickly shoot a large number of people?

And if someone is considered to be a threat to fly on a plane, why should that person be allowed to buy a gun?

Why is it unreasonable to think that both sides should come together sit down and talk through some reasonable measures to improve safety in this country?

14 Matthew Brownell March 19, 2018 at 5:09 AM


Imposing further restrictions on firearms, while a feel-good palliative for anti-gun zealots, will have ZERO effect on mass shootings.

And yes, Ms. Barron is quite correct, many school kids *are* being used a political fodder for the pro gun-control agenda, as locally witnessed last week by the 1-hour appearance of elected Democrat officials at an Algonquin High School auditorium during the national student “walk-out”. (More on this in a later post)

Considering this took place at a public high school, I suggest we start with a homework assignment – especially for those seeking to neuter the 2nd Amendment, and for those whose entire lifetime experience with firearms consists of shooting metal stars and ducks at a carnival booth:

Define “assault weapon”.

And if readers are diligent about this, I’m kind of hoping we get some beefier responses than “ they’re the scary-looking black ones”. . .

One of the commentators on this string – “Kate”, acknowledges that gun rights provide ample opportunity for politics. Unfortunately, I’m rarely seeing behavior at public school or colleges today that passes for critical thought, reasoning, debate, or (alarmingly), tolerance for differing opinions.

15 beth March 19, 2018 at 1:07 PM

Seriously – so sick of people demeaning those of us who are worried. Silly, overreactive snowflake I am to think that any kind of legislation should be considered to stem the tide of shootings in our country.

I’m an anti gun zealot and afraid of scary looking black guns because I don’t think everyone should have access to guns that don’t require reloading before shooting up to 30 bullets? (By the way, you can customize an AR-15 to be pink. That doesn’t make it less scary in my mind.)

I’m over the top for thinking that there should be something other than having to pull the trigger multiple times to slow down mass shootings? Wait, correct that, because legislators won’t even pass a ban on bump stocks to prevent turning semi automatic weapons into fully automated ones.

And if people are so concerned about mental illness being the cause – then why aren’t they in favor of national laws with more delays and background checks to force sellers to vet who they are selling guns to? Or databases that allow federal and local authorities more information on who has what guns?

I’ve allowed the debate on gun control, which is a national issue and not being decided in our Town, to go on long enough.

I’m ending the thread now because it won’t get us anywhere. If you were debating about which gun laws should be enacted vs what goes too far, that would be different. But when you outright reject the concept of any improved restrictions it proves that you are ingrained in your position and debate isn’t going to get us anywhere. So, it’s time to move on.

If I allowed someone else to respond, I would either have to respond back or have it seem that I have no response to the argument. And I don’t want to keep responding – This whole thing sickens me. When another commenter or reader is sickened by the comments, they have the freedom of not reading them. Cutting of the discussion is the only way that I can give myself that same freedom.

So for you anti-gun control commenters, just presume that your responses would have schooled me. But don’t bother submitting them because they won’t be posted.

16 Kate March 16, 2018 at 7:20 PM

Louise, I absolutely respect your opinion and I can feel your passion for this topic. I’m not sure if you’ve always lived in this country. I didn’t grow up here, so I am offering my opinion as somebody who has had a different experience. Growing up in Ireland, our history teachers taught us that our forefathers had been subjugated by the English for 800 years. Our lands, language, culture and religion were all taken away, and many of my ancestors died brutal deaths. You’d think the Irish would want to carry arms just in case a similar situation might crop up in the future, but that’s not the case. In fact, Irish society was horrified by the deaths of Patrick Pearse and other uprising leaders by firing squad. My uncle had a gun for hunting. I don’t think I ever saw it.

I agree with you that there is something really wrong with an individual who kills, and that we need to offer more mental health services, which means not diverting money from those efforts. However, I think we can all agree that the gun rights issue is a political issue. There’s no getting around it. In Northborough/Southborough schools, as in other schools around the nation, students are encouraged to think critically and speak out. Remember civics lessons? This is exactly what’s going on. I agree that we have to attack this problem, and make thoughtful and rational decisions. Sweeping it under the rug hasn’t worked, so maybe we can try a different approach.

17 Louise Barron March 16, 2018 at 10:27 PM

Beth Right wing, left wing. Who cares what side.The kids are being used by Schumer, Eldridge, and many politicians who are using politics to energize the kids to ignore the core of the issues. It has a base in serious mental illness. These kids need to report the troubled kids who exhibit, hint or threaten others. “If you see or hear something, say something”. Remember that??????? That has been the mantra regarding terrorism. That is what is going on in schools. Terrorism. It’s not the guns. I stand by that. Schools need psychologists, and teachers who will have to be more analytical and involved with troubled kids. Both sides will never come together. Get serious.

18 Kate March 17, 2018 at 10:14 AM

Louise; I’m not sure if you’re responding to my post, but in response to yours, I would answer that kids do actually report the “troubled” kids. The teachers and administrators know who they are. The parents know who they are. There are psychologists and counselors available to students and families. If we work on lessening the availabililty of guns, we will simply be adding another step for the protection of our youth. I am trying to be serious and I appreciate the dialogue

19 Carl Guyer March 17, 2018 at 4:19 PM

If there is some special issue with mental illness in America causing the high rate of gun deaths here, you may want to look at the this link and consider how crazy we all must be compared to the rest of the civilized world. Buy then again, large numbers of people in America think guns are not the issue which may actually prove their theory on mental illness correct.

20 Carl Guyer March 17, 2018 at 4:28 PM

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