E-W students join national movement against gun violence

'We are promising to vote them out next November’
By Brian Soergel | Apr 26, 2018
Courtesy of: Matt Kennelly Sophomore Jaida Votolato speaks to students at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

This time, there was plenty of talking. And yelling. Impassioned statements by young people tired of the same old, same old.

Edmonds-Woodway High School students joined schools across the country April 20 in a peaceful school walkout, responding to recent gun violence and commemorating the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

It was a different scene in March, when E-W students gathered in the school’s courtyard for a silent protest.

“The entire country is standing up and saying they have had enough,” said sophomore Alissa Berman, one of the rally’s organizers for National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools.

“Our goal for the walkout was to provoke action in the community and to show that we won’t tolerate the NRA buying elected officials any longer. If politicians will not listen to the students, we are promising to vote them out next November. Students are tired of the senseless death, and they need to create change.”

Students and community members gathered at the busy intersection of 76th Avenue SW and 212th Street SW, displaying signs and listening as speakers railed on police brutality, racism, the NRA's influence in the government and student roles’ in all of it.

Students Lena Stavig and Ken Razo distributed resources to those interested in getting involved.

“Gun violence throughout the years has remained altogether too high,” Berman said. “American citizens still have access to firearms they shouldn’t be able to use, and each day an average of 96 Americans are killed with guns.”

She added that the rally made its point.

“It continued the conversation, and raised awareness about gun violence. When students work together, amazing things happen. I'm so proud of all the Edmonds-Woodway students for caring enough and being brave enough to walk out of class, and I'm so excited to see what next year will bring. The walkout was just the beginning, and we won't stop until we have won the fight.”

E-W Principal Terrance Mims, in a letter sent to parents and guardians before the rally, wrote that “the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that students are entitled to exercise their free speech rights while at school. We will, as a school, respect our students' rights.”

School staff monitored students to ensure their safety.

Mims wrote that students who chose to walk out would not be allowed to disrupt the learning of other students who chose not to walk out, and would be marked absent.

“If a parent or guardian would like to call in and excuse the absence, we will honor the request,” he added.

Although the school rally was peaceful, Edmonds Police Sgt. Shane Hawley said officers responded to reports of a traffic collision in the area.

“Someone called in what they thought was a low-speed collision,” Hawley said. “As it turns out, what officers came upon was much different. A 19-year old Everett man saw the rally and decided to voice his opinion about it from the hood of his truck. He stopped in a lane of travel, which caused the car behind him to stop as well – that's why it was believed to be a collision.”

Hawley said there were many witnesses to the incident. However, the suspect did not threaten anyone, and no charges stem from what he voiced towards the group. He did, however, impede traffic and, because of that, Edmonds police referred charges to the prosecutor.












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