Student Initiative to Protest After Florida Shooting


An email sent to students from Principal Gengler regarding School Safety.

On February 14, 2018 Nikolas Cruz opened fire killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. According to Wayzata High School Principal Scott Gengler, numerous parents and students contacted the school following the shooting with concerned.

In response, many Wayzata High School students will be participating in a nationwide walkout on March 14th at 10:00 am.

“The school is not organizing the walk out.  In other words, it is not a school-sponsored event.  It is a student-led event,” sad Gengler. “Because the students have indicated their desire to do this on March 14th, the school will implement measures to keep all students safe and secure.”

“I’m proud of the youth here and around the country for organizing, thinking ahead, and leading the charge for change,” said U.S. History teacher Erin O’Neill.

According to Gengler, the school hopes to maintain a safe environment for both students protesting and those who wish not to assemble.

“Even events like assemblies pose an extra threat since everyone is congregating in one area. The good thing is that administration is going to have the exits blocked off by police officers so no one can enter or exit,” said Activism Club co-founder Stella Olson (11).

According to Olson, Gengler contacted students to meet with him and read over the email concerning school safety that went out to staff, parents, and students.

“We really appreciate Mr. Gengler for compromising with us and moving things around so that we can prove to the school that the issue is important. We shouldn’t be scared to go to school. It’s not okay,” said Activism co-founder Ishani Roychowdhury (11).

The Activism Club is planning to march at the St. Paul Capitol on March 24th to support the Parkland students, according to Roychowdhury.

“We are also in contact with people at Minnetonka who are designing buttons and we have a t-shirt design that we hope to get produced in time,” said Olson. “We’re just working on more ways to unify the community and our school.”

According to Gengler, students are not challenging the school or its policies, but rather are working to bring awareness to concerns over school safety and gun control laws.

“I think our students are aware and deeply affected by the violence happening in schools across the country. I am comforted knowing our students and staff genuinely care about each other and want to do all we can to keep our school community safe,” said Gengler.

“The walkout is a good way to voice opinions and gain attention to it. The shootings could be avoided with more gun control, they should raise the age limit for different guns,” said Nate Matos Pritchard (9).

“I won’t be participating in the walkout,” said Jake Frickstad (12). “I think that because we are all teenagers, I don’t think that is something that legislatures will listen to.”

According to Ashton Utsey (10), students are in charge of the change.

“I think we should all participate in the walkout. What is the worst that is going to happen? You gonna miss an assignment? For something that is this big, it is worth it,” said Utsey.

According to Aidan Burke (12), there should be stronger background check when purchasing guns.

“I’m not anti gun but I really believe that the process should be way harder to get a gun. I think that the college application process is far more complicated than the process of actually getting a gun,” said Burke. “I get that assault rifles are fun to shoot but is that fun really worth the chance of another school shooting or mass destruction and killings.”

Tommy Ransom (11) said, “I just think that with every other dangerous event that occurs, you blame the person, and not necessarily the weapon of choice. As far as like a bombing, it’s the bombers fault. A terrorist attack, it’s the terrorists fault, but no with a shooting, it’s the gun’s fault, and I don’t think that is right.”

According to Olson, the issue is not necessarily political; it is about feeling safe in school, which is a concern for everyone.

“We’re not protesting a specific political party,” said Roychowdhury. “We’re protesting the policy that give people the ability to buy an automatic assault weapon over the counter like a piece of pizza.”