Frontier students to protest gun violence

  • At left, Frontier Regional School Students Carliegh Clark, Emma Wood and Emily Laus receive a standing ovation at Tuesday’s School Committee meeting following a statement on the Parkland, Fla. shooting. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Thursday, March 08, 2018

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet; Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Scachter, Carmen Schentrup and Peter Wang.

Those are the names of the 17 students killed three weeks ago by a gunman in Parkland, Fla., and the same that were read publicly by Frontier Regional School 11th-grader Emily Laus at Tuesday’s School Committee meeting in the media center.

“We will remember,” said Laus, flanked by fellow juniors Emma Wood and Carliegh Clark. At the side of the room, 11th-grader Ben Roberts, who helped organize the public showing of support for Wood, Clark, and Laus, sat with about 20 other students. Seventeen of them stood one-by-one as the names were read.

To memorialize those killed and facilitate discussion around gun violence in schools, local students will join high schools across the nation in a morning walkout next week on March 14. Locally, Pioneer Regional High School, Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Turners Falls High School, and Northampton High School are among the schools where students are planning to walk out to send their message.

Students will remain outside the building for 17 minutes.

“Frontier students are making a stand for what we feel is right, and to be a part of the voice across the nation standing against the violence in schools. We, as students, need to have a say in the matters of our own country, our own home,” Laus said.

Their message was received by a standing ovation from school officials, the School Committee, and others in the audience. After, students opened up about what they hope to achieve through the walkout.

A few noted that violence in schools has increased over time and doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

“For so long our government hasn’t done anything. We’re the ones getting shot,” said 11th-grade student Johnathan Creque. “We’re going to make a change. That’s what we’re going to do.”

“We need to unite so we’re powerful enough to have our voice heard,” Laus said. “It’s a national thing, and we want Frontier to say our piece in it.”

Optimally, all of the students on hand agreed that better gun laws would be a step in the right direction.

And if there’s a place where change can happen, it’s Massachusetts, a state that “prides itself in being one of the most liberal states,” said student Hannah Kantor.