CCS students gather around Caroline Swayze and Coco Eyre as they read the names of those who died in the Parkland, Florida shooting. Photo by Dave Baird.

On February 14, 2018, there was a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen lives were taken and 17 more people were injured. On March 10, administrators at Charlotte Central School sent an email to the school community that said that awareness and interest had grown from middle school students about the walk-outs held across the country.

The email stated that “As a result, educational leaders of the K-8 schools of the Champlain Valley School District have collaborated to develop a coordinated and developmentally appropriate response: a Talk-In, a way to provide a time for interested students to talk and learn together about the topic of school safety.”

A number of us students felt it was important to honor the tragic event that happened in Florida, so we made a plan. We made a list of the victims’ names, we wrote a speech, and we planned to meet on Wednesday, March 14, at 9:55 a.m. in front of the art room to walk out together.

Mother Nature had different ideas. School was closed that day; it was a snow day. The walk out took place instead on Friday, March 16.

Principles Jen Roth and Stephanie Sumner were very supportive. They respected the students’ voices. It was amazing to see all the 5ththrough 8th graders meeting. Before leaving the building, everyone was reminded to be respectful. Coco Eyre and I read the names of the victims, and then we stood in silence for 17 minutes at the front of CCS.

“Today we are to honor the 17 lives that were taken in the Parkland shooting on February 14th,” we read. “Here are the names.” I have to admit it was hard standing for 17 minutes. We did a good job though. I felt that Charlotte Central School and its students and faculty honored the Parkland shooting very well.