About 100 Cedar High students walk out of class in memory of shooting victims

Cedar High School students walk around the track during planned National School Walkout event, Cedar City, Utah, March 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — About 100 Cedar High School students participated in a planned walkout event as part of a nationwide movement intended to call attention to school safety and ending gun violence in schools. After leaving the school building shortly after 10 a.m., the students congregated on the football field for a few minutes before walking a lap or two around the track and heading back to class.

The National School Walkout event took place Wednesday, on the one-month anniversary of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that killed 17 people. Authorities captured the suspected shooter, a 19-year-old former student, shortly after the attack.

Cedar High School students in main commons area during planned National School Walkout event, Cedar City, Utah, March 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Caleb Enman, a junior at Cedar High, said he was in the middle of his first period cooking class when he and a few of his friends decided to take part in the walkout.

“Some people did it to just ditch class,” he said. “But to me, it’s all about bullying. We should try to get to know people better, and help them out.”

One freshman, who later asked not to be identified by name, said she participated as a way of honoring of the shooting victims and their families.

“The parents of those victims will never see their children again,” she said. “It could’ve easily been stopped.”

Cedar High freshmen MaKell Corry and Haylee Hobbs were among several students wearing shirts identifying themselves as members of the school’s “Hope Squad.” Approximately 15 students in each grade level belong to the group, which strives to prevent teenage bullying and suicide.

“We try to help other people,” said Hobbs, adding that the group members have received specialized training on how to assist their peers who may be struggling. Hope Squad members work closely with school counselors and administrators.

Read more: $15,000 grant aims to prevent youth suicide, schools develop Hope Squads

Cedar High School Principal John Dodds (right) greets students as they walk out of classrooms during planned National School Walkout event, Cedar City, Utah, March 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

After walking out to the middle of the football field shortly after 10 a.m., the Cedar High students appeared to be unsure of what to do next. No one spoke out or addressed the crowd as a whole.

“We’re supposed to have 17 minutes of silence for the 17 victims,” Corry said, shortly before the students began walking quietly along the track that encircles the field.

After most students had walked around the track once or twice, they headed back to class as the planned 17-minute event wound to a close

Cedar High Principal John Dodds said even though he and other school officials weren’t sure how many students might choose to participate, “We decided to have something organized and safe, just in case.”

Teachers were also directed to not mark students absent or tardy if they participated, as long as they returned to class right after the walkout event, Dodds said.

The National School Walkout was observed at different levels and in different ways around the country. Many students took to social media, using hashtags like #Enough, #NationalSchoolWalkout and #ParklandStrong to show their solidarity and support.

Some schools chose to provide alternative ways of engaging students.

Cedar High School students walk around the track during planned National School Walkout event, Cedar City, Utah, March 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Cedar Middle School Principal Belynda Murray said in an email to parents Tuesday, that after meeting with the students on the school’s Student Leadership Team, the students decided to hold a special advisory class session at the end of the day Wednesday, during which they could write letters, notes or drawings related to the issue, if they chose to do so.

Murray said the student leaders wanted to show their support to the victims of the Florida shooting “in a respectful manner.”  

“They felt that a lot of students would use a walkout event as an excuse to just goof around and make light of the events in Florida,” Murray said in the email. “Instead, the Student Leadership Team has decided that they would like to show respect in a way that makes a difference when it comes to school shootings and other forms of violence in the schools. They would like to be able to have the voices of the students really heard in a way that they feel walking out of class wouldn’t do.”

Murray noted that the suggested activities were optional and that students who chose not to participate could just use the advisory period as regular study time.

“As a school community, we want to support our students whenever possible to allow them to have a voice on a local, state, and national level,” she added. “We are very proud of our Student Leadership Team and the insight that was shown as we met together today to make a plan for tomorrow that they feel allows them to share their voice, and make a difference safely, while still allowing students to choose if they want to participate.”

Elsewhere in Cedar City, both Canyon View High School and Canyon View Middle School saw very little participation, with only a handful of students at either school taking part in Wednesday’s walkout. But officials at both schools said they encourage students to continue to actively address issues related to bullying and violence.

“Talk to 17 new people, make some new friends,” Canyon View Middle School Principal Rob Wagner said he told students Wednesday morning.

Iron County School District Superintendent Shannon Dulaney reiterated the district’s commitment to school safety.

Read more: Active shooter drills prepare school staff, police for the unthinkable

“I do want to make sure that the community knows our students’ safety is a priority,” Dulaney said Wednesday morning. For example, she said the district is looking at how to implement and install lockdown systems that can secure a building’s exterior doors all at once. The new North Elementary School building already has such a system in place, and Dulaney said the district is looking at funding options to install similar systems at other schools.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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24 Comments

  • jaltair March 14, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    The school admin should not allow anything with a hint of political intent on campus. If the children wanted to show respect for those who were killed in Forida, an event at the park on the weekend or after school would have been more appropriate.

    • Striker4 March 15, 2018 at 12:47 am

      Well that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it

    • bikeandfish March 15, 2018 at 11:12 am

      So no pledge allegiance ever again?

  • Kyle L. March 14, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    First bullying is no reason to shoot or blow up any person.

    Second all of the same students that were part of this “walkout” better be the first ones to stand up for the people being picked on otherwise they are just full of BS. It starts with people caring about each other. For every bully there are twenty others. Stop worrying about being popular and start doing what is right, otherwise stay in class and keep pretending.

  • Icomments2 March 14, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    The ones that participated should be marked truant! There is no reason the kids should have gotten up and been allowed to dispute classes! I agree a planned event in a park would have been just fine! The far left is ruining our kids today and any admin that allows this to happen needs to be removed from his/her duties! If my child ever walked out of class without permission they better be held accountable for their action! That was childish and very immature, but I guess that’s why they only reported on a high school doing it in this news paper! Very disrespectful kids now a days and its sickening! Wake up America!!! Rant over!!!

  • Icomments2 March 14, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    I also am a parent of a child that is bullied, and let me tell you at my child’s High School they don’t care!!!

  • johncmiller March 14, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Spring break in St. George. No protest here. Does it really require “walking out of school” to protest this? If 100 kids in Cedar City genuinely walked out, surely there would have been some sort of gathering in St. George despite the break. Or is this just a chance to get out of class.
    I’m all about protest when passionate about something but let’s not make it a “only during school hours” event.

  • 42214 March 14, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Students walked out in protest of guns and went deer hunting. Only in Utah.

  • Striker4 March 15, 2018 at 12:50 am

    Good for them they have as much right to protest as adults do …they did it and there’s nothing you can do about lol !

  • vintagehippie March 15, 2018 at 2:10 am

    When I was in school I was always up for getting out of class on a nice day (or any day).

  • theone March 15, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Every time I see the reactions from the right on issues like this it confirms they have no morals.
    A life is meaningless to you conservative lemmings.

  • bikeandfish March 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

    A reminder to those critiquing the timing….school shootings happen during school hours hence the timing of the walkout. I think it would have been powerful to synchronize it with the 221 EST shooting T Parkland but clearly I wasn’t a student organizer.

    To those who care….states across the country are attempting to criminalize protest via legislation.

  • John March 15, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    It’s a textbook example of the left exploiting and indoctrinating our children to further their Anti-Constitutional agenda. Time to wake up and smell the coffee America !!

    • comments March 15, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      agree. these teens aren’t thinking for themselves. They’re just going along with whatever “cool” fad of the moment, and currently that is teeny anti-gun protests. People should not think for even a moment that this is led by teenies themselves. We know all too we there are hard-leftist professional organizers behind these BS campaigns.

      • comments March 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm

        *We know all too well there are hard-leftist professional organizers behind these BS campaigns.

    • bikeandfish March 15, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      Considering most are advocating for ban of AR-15 which is currently considered constitutional by one or more federal rulings. I’m not sure it will hold up to SCOTUS scrutiny, especially if Roberts leaves this summer, but as of now several such band are fine. Time will tell.

      The impetus for this was founded by students, though it was amplified by several national groups. The fact is gun control is popular nationally and its only logical to guess a similar sentiment exists with teenagers. Its not indoctrination anymore than NRA’s targeted youth programs are indoctrination.

  • Bowlinggreen123 March 15, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Just wondering if any of these PEOPLE walked out or held a moment of silence for all the victims of the LV shooting?

    • bikeandfish March 15, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      Yep, most of the walkouts were staged to last 17 minutes; 1 minute for each victim of the Parkland shooting. Many involved a moment of silence.

      • John March 16, 2018 at 9:27 am

        The only flaw in your logic is that more laws will not work. Criminals, terrorists and crazies do not obey laws. A lot can be learned from Homeland Security Procedures at our airports. Protecting our students should be at the top of the list, not making schools easier targets like the leftest anti-gun lobby is hoping to do ! Remove those ” GUN FREE ZONES” signs from our schools. There’s nothing like broadcasting nobody will shoot back here! Liberal feel good policies never worked before and never will.

        • bikeandfish March 17, 2018 at 2:31 am

          ugh, where in the above statement did I say anything about laws? Or are you interjecting about the comments further up page? If so, I never said laws would be successful. I just highlighted the constitutionality argument you made is uncertain given the recent federal rulings.

          Nor did I blame the NRA for mass-shootings.

          • John March 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm

            You will say anything to avoid being seen as wrong.. a flip flopper just like your hero Romney

          • bikeandfish March 17, 2018 at 4:15 pm

            Not sure where I flip flopped or how you can assume Romney is my hero. Its especially odd given the way in which you throw liberal insults at me. You are all over the place, John. I think you just need to accept I’ve never fit your gross stereotypes or assumptions about my ideology. Which is funny because I’ve made it clear that I care about truth more than ideology.

            I think the phrase that describes your behavior is “hot mess”.

          • John March 17, 2018 at 7:56 pm

            actually you fit the stereotypes perfectly..flip flop…waah waah!

      • John March 16, 2018 at 11:05 am

        And not a single mass shooting was ever carried out by a NRA member…Blaming them for mass shootings is like blaming AAA for car accidents.

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