E.O. Smith High School exploring walkout in response to gun violence


(Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

(Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

Although nothing has been finalized yet, administrators at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs have spoken with students regarding the possibility of holding a peaceful demonstration in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 students, E.O. Smith Principal Lou DeLoreto said.

March 14 will mark one month since gunman Nikolas Cruz carried out the most deadly high school shooting in United States history. To mark this anniversary, students all around the United States have planned a 17-minute walkout – one minute for each victim.

DeLoreto said that prior to approaching students with the possibility of holding a peaceful demonstration, the school emailed students’ parents to make them aware of the call to protest and the importance of open conversation about it.

DeLoreto said that after the email went out, he met with student members of the Peer Natural Helpers and the Democratic Discourse organizations. He added that, if the demonstration were to take place, all would be welcome to take part.

“They [Peer Natural Helpers and the Democratic Discourse groups] are two of our largest groups,” DeLoreto said. “Students quickly identified others who should be part of the process.  We don’t want anyone to feel like they are left out.”

DeLoreto also said he feels it is important for students to know why they are demonstrating.

“If something comes of this, that they understand the issue – they understand what their message is – they understand why they are demonstrating,” DeLoreto said.

Last week, the University of Connecticut tweeted that the decision of incoming students to demonstrate as a part of this movement will not affect their admission decision.  E.O. Smith shares this position, DeLoreto said.

“Our position is not to impose sanctions on students,” DeLoreto said.  “That’s not going to be our approach.”

Luke Hajdasz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at luke.hajdasz@uconn.edu.

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