Bianca Lang

News Brief: 17 Minutes for 17 Victims

Seventeen people were killed by shooter Nikolas Cruz on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

​To remember those who died, UPA students and staff were encouraged to participate in a voluntary school walkout on March 14, one month after the Parkland shooting.

They stood in silence for 17 minutes in the gym—one minute for each person who died.

Some students carried signs displaying their own beliefs about the use of weapons on school campuses while others listed the names of the deceased.

“[The walkout was necessary because] it raises awareness,” junior Alina Torres said. “Not a lot of people check the news. Some people in the world don’t know what’s going on outside. I think that when you spread awareness and advocate the issue in school where people know about the news because it’s their school, they’re like ‘Oh my gosh!’ this is really necessary. We need to take action because it’s not just a human issue. It’s a student issue which involves us specifically.”

Students were also permitted to wear orange, a color which came to symbolize the movement to stop gun violence after 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed one week after performing at former president Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2012.

​At lunch, a roundtable discussion—led by teachers Ariana Rodriguez, Nicole Sebek and Katherine Poltorak—about the Second Amendment, gun control and school safety occurred in the Multipurpose room.

From left to right: Megan Uy (10) and Kiana Saqui (10) both hold their signs.
Tarang Jammalamadaka (8)
Aulani Barnes (11)
Amrita Sivia (12)