Choosing to Walk or Not

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#Enough is enough. On April 20, students in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools left class and marched to the Peace and Justice Plaza, on East Franklin Street, in protest of gun violence; however, debate over the walkout could be heard much earlier.

Carrboro High School was filled with voices advertising the walk out. Students said, “if you are physically able, you should be walking on Friday.” Or even, “would you rather be shot or risk detention?” as there were threats of detentions and notes in your file for walking out and skipping class.

The peer pressure that students felt is unnecessary. Each and every student should be able to show and express their beliefs and views in the way that they choose to do so. Choosing whether or not to walk out has been a challenging decision for some, and many have witnessed extreme amounts of peer pressure. They’ve been told that if they don’t walk out then they don’t care, or it isn’t important to them. Well, not necessarily. Some students don’t hold this cause near and dear to them. Some students don’t think that it is important. Everyone has their opinions that they are entitled to. They should not be asked to explain themselves, but if they would like to, they deserve the same respect and open ears that everyone else receives.

However, there are also students who really would have wanted to participate, but couldn’t for various reasons such as sports, absences, tests or even because their parents didn’t want them to. And some students don’t want to risk getting a detention or a note in their file.

After CHS sent out a message about treating the walkout like skipping class and giving out detentions and notes in files, many students didn’t mind risking those possible outcomes, but other students had pre-existing notes or detentions that they preferred not to add to. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care, and just because you didn’t walk out doesn’t mean that you didn’t show your support in other ways. For example, on that Friday,

Carrboro High School was a sea of orange. Many students showed their support by wearing the orange shirts whether or not they walked out. No one should be shamed or judged for their decision, but sadly this isn’t the case. Most students expect every other student to have the same opinion that they do and don’t understand when they don’t.

Some students think that the cause is important but don’t agree with the proposed solutions that are be- ing represented through the walkout. I’ve seen a lot of exclusivity in the various walkouts that I thought were supposed to bring people together through a common goal. There are only a few views and opinions being represented. If you have a different idea, you’re likely undergo scrutiny for your views. Seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me.

Speaking of hypocrisy… why is it that it takes students from an upper-middle class, majority white school to be shot and killed for everyone to be up in arms? There are kids, teens and adults alike killed in neighborhoods every day.