Bear Facts

Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

Julia+Funk%2C+senior%2C+stands+with+other+seniors+among+the+sea+of+the+students+attending+the+walkout+on+March+14.+At+the+school+sanctioned%2C+non+political+event%2C+Funk+and+others+passed+out+%27Our+Opinions+Matter%2C%27+and+%27Enough+is+Enough%2C%27+signs+to+some+students.+Some+people+questioned+if+the+signs+fit+the+nonpolitical+nature+of+the+event.
Julia Funk, senior, stands with other seniors among the sea of the students attending the walkout on March 14. At the school sanctioned, non political event, Funk and others passed out 'Our Opinions Matter,' and 'Enough is Enough,' signs to some students. Some people questioned if the signs fit the nonpolitical nature of the event.

Julia Funk, senior, stands with other seniors among the sea of the students attending the walkout on March 14. At the school sanctioned, non political event, Funk and others passed out 'Our Opinions Matter,' and 'Enough is Enough,' signs to some students. Some people questioned if the signs fit the nonpolitical nature of the event.

Photo by Emma Brumage-Kilcourse

Photo by Emma Brumage-Kilcourse

Julia Funk, senior, stands with other seniors among the sea of the students attending the walkout on March 14. At the school sanctioned, non political event, Funk and others passed out 'Our Opinions Matter,' and 'Enough is Enough,' signs to some students. Some people questioned if the signs fit the nonpolitical nature of the event.

Meggie Furlong, Web Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The nationwide walkout tied to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting made headlines this week, but LZHS’ event caused a buzz of another kind.

Even before the event on March 14, student groups began discussing signs, a possible counter event, and whether or not the event was tied to the national movement that advocated for gun control.

“I don’t understand why they did not associate this with the national movement. We [did] this at the same time on the same day and it is a part of the national movement, as much as the administration would like to squash that half of it,”  Julia Funk, senior, said. “Going out there and being told to sit down quietly felt very much like an assembly. If the administration had truly thought it had no political connotation, then why wouldn’t have every student walked out just to memorialize the 17 victims?”

Funk and other activists were also not allowed to carry signs during the walkout.

“We started walking out of the school with our signs and they started yelling, ‘Hey, stop!’ and I said [to the others], ‘let’s just push forward. Let’s try to get out of the building. They don’t want it in the building disrupting learning environments.’ Dean Aiello confronted me and told me that ‘if you don’t surrender your sign, you won’t walk at graduation.’ I asked, ‘Why? Why can’t we have our signs?’ and he said, ‘because I said so,’” Funk said.  “Our school always goes on about how we all treat each other with respect here you’re young adults, we’ll treat you like adults. It was just extremely dismissive. Personally, I think they did not want us to have signs because they didn’t want this to have any kind of political connotation, but they should’ve communicated that to us, rather than originally telling us that you can’t have sticks [on the signs]. So then we were like ‘ok, we won’t have sticks.’ They did not communicate that to us, and it would’ve saved a lot of hassle if they had.”

Because the event was not politically motivated, signs were not permitted, according to Abigail Celli, dean of students. Signs would imply a protest, which contradicted the walkout’s purpose to memorialize the victims.

“I know that as administrators, none of us specified that specifically ‘no signs with sticks.’ We did say no signs because we did not want a memorial for the tragic loss of lives to become politicized,” Celli said. “First of all, as a public institution, we cannot host political rallies of any sort. And it was made very clear to the students who were organizing it that this was a nonpolitical event and students were to simply respect the lives that were lost. I can say that I was very disappointed that some of our students decided to exploit those children and teachers who were killed in this tragic event for the promotion of their personal political agenda, so that was very frustrating and sad to me. Overall, I was very proud of how our students were respectful and how much our students care about these kids and the cause, but the exploitation was really disappointing to me.”

Funk argues that her signs were not politically motivated. A video of Funk and other students passing out signs was incorrectly cited as “pro-gun control” on the Bear Facts Student Media Twitter. This false citation has since been corrected.

“We were handing out signs that said ‘Enough is Enough,’ which all the speakers said, so that was part of it, and our other sign said ‘our opinions matter,’ which is just to make the point that young people are taking a stand, that we do have a voice in this issue,” Funk said. “When we were cited as handing out pro-gun control flyers, it did not seem to be accurately portrayed with what we were doing. It sounded divisive, that we were infiltrating the walkout and putting our own message to it, [but] the national movement is about gun control.”

Though organizers of the walkout stated on the Facebook event that the LZHS walkout was nonpolitical, the original name of the event indicated a politically motivated purpose, according to Yianni Manousaridis, senior.

“Personally, I don’t like the way [the walkout] was [run],” Manousaridis said. “It was originally named the ‘gun legislation walk,’ and then it was [said to be] for the victims. If it’s going to be about [the victims], then don’t try to mask it with something else and add [politics] back in later. Be upfront with it. If you’re going to do something, do it. [Be] 100% with it.”

While the walkout organizers shared their event on Facebook, Manousaridis also shared his counterevent, titled the ‘NRA Sit-in.’

“It was for two things. One, overall, to honor the victims, and [two] to keep our second amendment right,” Manousaridis said. “I didn’t want to do any political twists, so I was more upright with [my opinion than the organizers of the walkout were].”

However, the counter event did not occur because he was unable to attend a required meeting with administration to approve the event beforehand, according to Manousaridis.

The school-sanctioned walkout did have administrative approval, according to Celli. With approval, students were allowed to hold their memorial and promote school safety, according to Michaela Towne, Spanish teacher.

“From my point of view, it’s not really political,” Towne said. “I’m a teacher. I have students. I have kids of my own, and for me, it’s not as much of a political issue as just wanting people to know that we want our kids to be safe, not just when they go to school, but when they go to the movies, or when they go to the park, things like that.”

Overall, the walkout’s purpose was fulfilled as the organizers intended, according to Rajen Modi, senior and political science club president.

“I think that the walkout [did] show awareness and support, which I think [was] the most important thing that it need[ed] to do,” Modi said. “I think that saying that young people can’t make a difference is garbage, honestly. If somebody is informed on a topic, [and] if you do your research, then you have a right to speak out.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout”

  1. Andrew McCabe on March 16th, 2018 11:11 pm

    Schools should never invite controversial events so closely aligned to political movements – period. The simple appearance of promoting a political agenda should be enough for the school administration to steer clear from such events. In this case, I believe the Superintendent and his direct reports are guilty of bad judgment. Because of these bad actions, you now have a student body that no longer respects the administration regardless of their position relative to the events occurring on March 14.

  2. Alysha on March 18th, 2018 10:50 pm

    Keep speaking out! PRoud of you LZHS Kids.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    LZ Life

    1800 hours: student receives award for dedication to theatre

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    Cover

    Student walks through life fascinated by art

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    Cheerleading

    Flipping out for cheerleading: students participate in club and high school cheer

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    Spotlight (showcase)

    Paving his own way: self taught student finds a love for photography

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    Spotlight (showcase)

    Stepping into a country: first generation Americans face unique experiences in assimilating to new culture

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    LZ Life

    Reaching for the Stars: senior plans career as astronaut

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    News

    Kits for Kidz: one student’s dedication to helping schoolchildren in Liberia

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    Spotlight (showcase)

    Greenhouse branches out

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    Sports

    Hard work beats talent: how two LZHS athletes significantly improved with hard work over time

  • Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout

    Spotlight (showcase)

    Growing opportunities

Lake Zurich High School Student Media
Students, LZHS community divided on events surrounding school walkout