The Warrior

Lane students reach out to survivors of Parkland shooting

 Students organizing the walkout held signs with the names of the Parkland victims during the moment of silence

Students organizing the walkout held signs with the names of the Parkland victims during the moment of silence

Photo by Lara Sonuga

Photo by Lara Sonuga

Students organizing the walkout held signs with the names of the Parkland victims during the moment of silence

By Lara Sonuga, Editor-In-Chief

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An array of students flooded out of Lane’s main exits, gathering peacefully on the east lawn with megaphones and colorful signs. They stood facing the building for two minutes of complete silence before marching around the perimeter of the lawn, the words “no more silence, end more violence” echoing in the students’ wake.

On March 14, one month after the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, hundreds of Lane students participated in a walkout during division. The walkout started at 10 a.m. and lasted for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 victims of the shooting.

The walkout was planned entirely by students, according to Ms. Hanly, assistant principal, and Ms. Escobar, student special service advocate.

“We can’t take credit for anything, other than communication and monitoring,” Hanly said. “A lot of it came from the kids.”

“We’re not involved, but we are supporting our students,” Escobar said.

Emerson Toomey, Div. 864, was one of several students who had a part in organizing Lane’s walkout.

“The purpose of the walkout was to stand in solidarity with Parkland, but also to remember all of the victims of gun violence across Chicago, especially the ones that are disproportionately affected on the south and west sides,” she said.

Toomey said she was pleased with the way the walkout turned out.

“I think that it was really peaceful, and I’m really glad that most of the school walked out for it,” she said. “I really don’t feel that it was political, I feel that it was more safety-related, and it was great to see that most of the school agreed.”

There are several other ways for Lane students to get involved in the gun control movement—Toomey recommended attending the March for Our Lives protest at Union Park on March 24, as well as supporting existing organizations that stand against gun violence.

“It’s a really great first step to all come together and walk out,” Toomey said. “But it’s also important to continue working on it and raising voices against it.”

Hundreds of members of the Lane community got involved prior to the walkout. On Feb. 26, students were encouraged to write messages for the survivors of the Parkland shooting on two large green banners placed on the floor of Room 113. The banners were sent to Parkland the following day.

The idea to create banners came from Law in American Society teacher Ms. Sebestyen, according to Hanly.

“She brought it to our attention that it was being done around the country and suggested that we do it here,” Hanly said.

There was not a lot of planning involved, according to Escobar.

“We asked for the paper, sent out the message, and then everyone was here,” she said.

Students filtered through the room during their lunch periods and after school, using markers to sign their names and write supportive messages for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“We thank the Lane Tech community for all the support they’re willing to show to their peers,” Hanly said. “I’m really excited to see this.”

Later that week, on Feb. 28, the Lane Tech Media Crew organized the “blackout,” an event in which students were encouraged to wear all black in support of victims of gun violence. Media Crew also distributed orange ribbons to all first period classes for students to wear.

Gretchen Faliszek, a member of Media Crew, said that the idea to hand out ribbons came from a discussion in Ms. Diamond’s class.

“We made the ribbons because we felt like we should talk about the shooting and take some form of action,” Faliszek, Div. 979, said. “We felt like it wasn’t being talked about a lot, and wanted to bring attention to it and show solidarity.”

Media Crew and other volunteers made approximately 5,000 ribbons for the blackout, according to Faliszek.

“We made enough for every student and staff and there was extra,” she said.

Many students were also seen wearing the ribbons during the walkout on March 14. The combined forms of outreach were an effective way of standing in solidarity with the Parkland community, and sent a strong message of support to the survivors of the shooting, according to Toomey.

“I would say that I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for them,” Toomey said. “I am sorry for their loss, but I realize that isn’t necessarily something that they want or need to hear. I am extraordinarily proud of them for doing what they’re doing, and I hope that they keep it up.”

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Lane students reach out to survivors of Parkland shooting