Student Voices Stifled at North Tahoe High School Event
On March 10th at 10 am, a nationwide school walkout occured to advocate for the lives lost in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February. The national student walkout was organized to honor the murdered students, and it was inspiring to see students from around the country take initiative in speaking up for what they believe in. Scholars took pride in their ability to take action and demand change, making posters and planning for weeks beforehand in order to have their voices heard. While many marched for gun control, the ultimate objective was to honor the students who passed. Unfortunately, not all schools and pupils got to share their voices equally. At North Tahoe High School, the initially planned student-led walkout that many expected felt like a school sanctioned event led by select students and a handful of staff members. Rather than the “walkout” being held outdoors, it was held in the school auditorium where the voices of many Lakers were silenced while only a few students spoke. The audience sat as passive observers rather than as active participants. For example, many Lakers had made signs, but did not have the opportunity to display them during this walkout, nor were any other students invited to speak. In addition, no one in the audience felt comfortable chanting slogans at this highly structured event. The reason stated for not going outside was because of the weather. However, students at Truckee High School, with the same weather conditions, marched outside and attracted the attention of local and social media. Similar to Truckee High, many other high schools had student led walkouts that made a strong statement against gun violence and for gun control. A number of my peers that I spoke to at North Tahoe High following this event felt disappointed at the lack of student involvement and believed their free speech rights were chilled. I share these sentiments.