Student’s Choice to Walk-up or Walk-out

Annabelle Ady, Opinion Editor

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March 14, students across the nation walked out of class in protest of gun violence. Each group gathered for 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 people murdered in the Feb. 14 Florida school shooting. Similarly, there was a movement the same day that encouraged students to “walk up” instead of walking out of class.

According to The Mighty, the walk up movement is the belief that, “students should walk up to other students and be kind in order to foster better school environments.” In some school districts the walk up protest was used as an alternative to walking out.
But this is problematic due to the fact that it is not based on genuine interest or friendship, but is based on fear.

To me personally, the walk-up version of the walk-out protest was not as positive or productive as it was made out to be. As a quiet kid who has been known as the “weird” kid of the class this movement could make a person like me feel targeted by my peers because they were afraid of me. I know that the walk-up was meant to be a positive alternative but for kids who already feel ostracized by their peers. But it’s likely that a walk-up from a random peer would not make them feel any more included. Walking up to the weird quiet kid would only cause them to feel singled out, and even less a part of the school environment.

For a kid who gets walked-up to, the message sent can easily come solely out of fear rather than true interest. For the lonely quiet kids, usually the only thing they want is a friend who actually cares about them — not just peers who talk to them because they don’t want to be a victim of potential violence.

Both movements have been largely student-run, with very few adults heading the protests. As with most cases of social movements involving teens and children, some parents got up in arms about their kids being “forced” to protest something that they didn’t understand. There has been talk that the youth are being brainwashed for other adults’ political agendas.

I can’t speak for other students, but I wasn’t forced into participation on either side March 14 — out of peer pressure and not for a political agenda that was not my own. We all had our own reasons to protest, whether they were purely selfish or selfless.

Whether students chose to walk up or to walk out March 14, it really comes down to this: Our voices were heard, and this is a step in the right direction.

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Student’s Choice to Walk-up or Walk-out