QUEENS, N.Y. ― Each time there’s a lockdown drill at Townsend Harris Excessive College, the massive, busy Flushing college the place Jessica Stillman teaches English, she replays the preparations she’d have to take to maintain her college students protected.
Then, in February, her deepest concern got here true. Her college skilled a taking pictures. Solely it wasn’t the college the place she at present works.
Stillman attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College in Parkland, Florida, as a youngster, dwelling lower than a mile away. Like so lots of the survivors who’ve emerged as leaders of the By no means Once more motion, Stillman was a theater kid at the school.
On Wednesday morning, she obtained to observe as college students at her college carried the torch of the Parkland leaders. She chaperoned whereas some 800 of the college’s 1,100 college students participated within the National School Walkout, spending 30 minutes in silence in a close-by area.
Across the nation, a minimum of 3,00zero different colleges and communities participated within the occasion, an effort to honor the 17 lives misplaced at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and agitate for stricter gun management.
The lots of of teenagers had been hushed as a small group of scholars and lecturers alternated studying the names of the victims of the Parkland taking pictures over a megaphone. Every sufferer was given a minute of silence. Stillman tearfully seemed on as teenagers held indicators displaying the scholars’ names and messages of protest towards the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation.
Kathy Ling, a senior at Townsend Harris, helped plan the student-led occasion as president of the scholar union. The walkout is one among a number of occasions the scholars have deliberate to assist honor Parkland and its victims over the subsequent few months. The varsity’s administration, she stated, has been supportive and useful.
Ling was happy with the respect her fellow college students confirmed throughout the occasion, which was meant to behave extra as a memorial than a protest, she stated.
Watching members of the MSD theater neighborhood achieve nationwide prominence as spokespeople for a gun management motion has been heartwarming, however not stunning, Stillman says, given the general public talking expertise crucial for drama. The eloquence and composure the Parkland college students have exhibited remind Stillman of her personal college students at Townsend Harris, whom she describes as “politically conscious” and “articulate.”
Stillman sported a Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College sweatshirt on the walkout. On Wednesday night, she plans to take part in an “Night of Motion” with fellow MSD alumni and highschool college students round New York.
“I by no means in 1,000,000 years something like this may occur in that city,” Stillman stated earlier this week of Parkland. “Hopefully it doesn’t occur anyplace, however to have it occur in a spot you realize so effectively, so intimately ― it was like shedding any person in your personal household.”