Rhinelander High School students join 17-minute national walk out
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
About 100 Rhinelander High School students and a handful of community members joined countless others across the country this morning for the #Enough national student walk out from 10-10:17 a.m. The walk out comes one month after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., where 17 students and faculty lost their lives.
RHS Student Council President Emma Hjelle said she registered the school’s participation on the national event website after hearing interest from her peers who didn’t know how to become involved. She distributed a list of the Parkland victims’ names and ages.
“For many people, the purpose of walking out is to honor those who lost their lives in Parkland,” Hjelle said. “For others, the purpose is to create a narrative for gun reform.”
Some students outside wore National Rifle Association t-shirts and shirts reciting the Second Amendment. Tyler Olson said he feels sorry for the victims but is against the government enacting new gun restrictions.
“When it comes to people getting killed by cars we don’t blame the cars, we always blame the person,” Olson said. “But when it comes to guns for some reason we always blame the guns. I don’t see how that makes sense.”
Students who are in favor of gun control reform, Hjelle said, hope that RHS’s participation can be a piece to a larger puzzle.
“In a sense, just like individual votes can make up big change,” Hjelle explained. “Participation from individual schools, when viewed overall, can persuade our leaders to take action.”
“I can see where some restrictions can come into play, like at gun shows … but a criminal is going to get their hands on guns one way or another,” Olson said. “That’s just the way it’s always going to be.”
The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office blocked off traffic near the school during the 17-minute walk out. The event on school grounds was peaceful.
“I believe that young individuals, like everyone else, ought to be given a voice and should not be judged for their opinions, even if they are not appreciated,” Hjelle said.
According to the School District of Rhinelander, between 100-200 James Williams Middle School students also participated in the national event.