Students Speak Out Against School Violence & Social Isolation
March 14th, 2018 was #NationalWalkoutDay. Since the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students from all across the country have joined together for 17 minute-long demonstrations on and around their school campuses: young activists have stood in front of their schools holding signs; they have rallied together in school gymnasiums, and they have walked onto their schools’ football fields to honor the 17 people that lost their lives in Parkland, Florida. Students have also marched to their State’s Capitol to address legislators and the public at large with the goal of affecting political change. Through civic action, students are saying #Enough to school shootings, and more student-led marches are being organized in the upcoming months. Educational leaders have come face-to-face with the issue of students’ free speech rights amidst this youth-driven movement for change. Advocates of civil rights and student safety have strongly encouraged schools to provide students with a safe space to express their First Amendment rights. However, peaceful protest is not the only method that students are using to address the problem of school violence. As an alternative or in addition to school walkouts, students all over the United States are joining together to address an underlying cause of school violence through the #WhatsYour17 campaign.
Social isolation is a common thread found in many cases of school violence. Perpetrators are often students who are identified as “loners” that lack friends at school as well as healthy relationships at home. To address this underlying cause, students are taking the #WhatsYour17 challenge. #WhatsYour17 aims to affect change on school campuses nationwide by promoting kindness, acceptance and inclusion. This student-led movement combines real-world action at school as well as online campaigns. Students are enlisting the support of their school administrators and educators as they kick off their #WhatsYour17 campaigns in their schools. In fact, students are even using social media to spread the message—including campaign videos that challenge their peers to take action. Check out the video made by high school students at Girard City Schools!
Watch this #WhatsYour17 video, produced by students and for students:
Attribution: Video is courtesy of Girard City Schools www.girardcityschools.org
Students are also using social media to chronicle acts of kindness for each day of the 17-day challenge.
Tomorrow marks the 1 month anniversery of the Stonemen Douglass High School shooting. By picking up a ribbon in room 250 and signing your name on the board; you vow to honor the 17 victims of the shooting by performing 17 acts of kindness! #WhatsYour17 @fhswalkout @fhsprincipal pic.twitter.com/kOx2ypGiTe
— FHS Students (@FHSStudentLife) March 13, 2018
Day 1 is done! Here’s the video that played on the announcements in case you missed it. If you have any questions about the campaign, please ask a leadership student or your teacher! Tomorrow, we’ll explain the post it notes. But for now, please start your acts of kindness!😁🐻 pic.twitter.com/KL9iPliLXP
— OHS What’s Your 17? (@OHSwhatsyour17) March 13, 2018
— Jay M. Robinson HS (@JMRHSNews) March 13, 2018
@LeanderTigers Coalition of Clubs working to honor victims of gun violence and improve school culture with #whatsyour17. We’re challenging our school to perform 19,856 #actsofkindness -17 acts from every student & staff member. #TheWestDen #NoPlaceforHate pic.twitter.com/ZOxAZnQlJc
— Amber Foulk (@AmberFoulk1) March 10, 2018
— Riverside HS (@RiversideLCPS) March 14, 2018
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