Rockne Roll/News-Register##
McMinnville High School students demonstrate during an anti-gun violence walk-out along Northeast Evans Street near the school Wednesday, March 14.
Rockne Roll/News-Register## McMinnville High School students demonstrate during an anti-gun violence walk-out along Northeast Evans Street near the school Wednesday, March 14.
By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Area students join nationwide walkout over gun violence

A couple hundred students walked out of McMinnville High School after first period Wednesday in solidarity with similar walkouts across the country to protest school shootings.

Students at Willamina High School and other county schools also demonstrated.

Willamina students who participated in the walkout without their parents' permission were were given Saturday detention, said Principal Tim France. Amy Fast, an assistant principal at McMinnville High, said her students risked unexcused tardiness for second period if their parents didn't give their approval.

"It's worth it," said Chloe Gunn, a junior at McMinnville High. "We're expressing our First Amendment rights."

The length of the walkouts varied from school to school, but the protest in McMinnville lasted approximately 17 minutes.

Gunn said emotions at McMinnville High are still raw after a threatening note was found in the restroom of a local grocery store that read, "March 1. R.I.P." More than half the student body stayed home from morning classes March 1. "And it was during Unity Week, which just made it worse," Gunn said. "It was like someone wanted to ruin that."

Students have had enough, she added. "I'm really tired of being afraid," Gunn said. "I just want something to be done."

Kylee Gwilliam, a junior, said adults who say mass shootings are the price of having freedom are making a grim choice. "They care more about being able to fire automatic weapons on the weekends than they do about our lives."

Tommy Douglass, another junior, said it was an honor to participate in the walkout.

"I feel this is a really important day," he said. "It's our lives being affected, so our voices should be heard."

Many of the teachers at McMinnville High seem sympathetic to the walkout, he added.

"The teachers have been great," he said. "They've been very supportive when times are scary."

Douglass said he would like to see a ban on high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons. One thing he doesn't want to see, he said, is armed teachers. Teachers with guns are more likely to draw fire than effectively return it, he added. "We don't want our teachers shot," said Douglass.

Students were joined by several community members, including Dr. Maeshowe Pierce, who lives a block away from the school. She brought her young children to the walkout.

"I want our kids to be safe," said Pierce. "Kids are so traumatized right now."

When 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts ran into Clackamas Town Center near Portland Dec. 11, 2012, and killed two people as well as himself, a friend of hers was in the mall alongside a pregnant woman. "It's getting so most of us know someone affected by gun violence," Pierce said.

An absolute approach to the Second Amendment is not keeping people free, she added. "Living in fear is not freedom," she said. "Dying at school is not freedom."

See Friday's News-Register for more from the demonstrations.

Comments

Rotwang

It is reprehensible to use children as props to further one's own political goals - and even more so for school staff to act as enablers - for those who want to take away our liberty, one increment at a time.

tagup

.....you're worried about those who want to "take away" our liberty, yet you advocate restricting freedom of speech for these students?

Finch

I agree with Rotwang.

F. Bank

Why did they need to walk out of school? Gee, could teachers have just wanted time off? And students as well...if that is not the case then why did they not do this after school or on a weekend? Oh I know why, because no one wants to do this on THEIR OWN time, especially the teachers. B>S> I am VERY pro-life, as our my kids, wonder if the media and the teachers would have been ok with students walking out of school in protest of abortion? Gee, i bet not. And guess what? I would NOT be ok with my kids walking out of school for ANY kind of protest. I send them to school to learn, not to protest...this is nonsense and any HONEST person knows this.

F. Bank

are not our...correction on my post. lol

Lulu

Seventeen minutes of curriculum lost! The horror! What might they have missed vital to their lives? The placement of a semi-colon with quotation marks?
March away, kids, and good luck to you. At least you care enough to try.

Sal Peralta

Looks like the next generation is going to be less passive, less selfish and more public interested than the current one. Good. Maybe things will get better.

tagup

Learning comes in many forms.....Encouraging our kids to be aware of, and interested in, issues (and to exercise their rights) is not a bad thing.....

Mudstump

F. Banks - Protest is a form of learning and thinking critically. It's important to raise our kids to think for themselves. They aren't robots or mini versions of ourselves. They are the ones most likely to be on the receiving end of an assault rifle. I wonder how they muster the courage to go to school at all with the knowledge that many of their peers have been killed and mutilated at schools just like theirs all over the country. It's a sad day when we value unlimited gun ownership over our children's lives.

Rotwang

Don't put words in my mouth, Tagup. That is also reprehensible.

tagup

I don't believe asking a question puts words in your mouth.....

GRM

Mudstump....very well said. And soon they will vote. Good. Gives me some hope into the future.

Kat758

I am proud of these children standing up for their rights to be safe at school or for that matter anywhere. I agree with tagup and GRM, it's time for a change and it looks like our future will be brighter with these children in it.

Lulu

If no one protested Vietnam--by marching through the streets, raising their voices, refusing to "behave" and being mad as hell, we would still be fighting over there for a politically motivated hopeless cause.
These kids can make a difference. Next time, louder.

REB

No change will happen until we concentrate on the individual that does the violence, not the inanimate object. all the effort expended on gun control is wasted while the angry, mentally ill and criminal element goes untreated and unidentified.

tagup

While I agree that the human issues need to be addressed, Statistics from many other countries would not support your statement.

GrizzlyWildcat

I'm very proud of these kids.
I'm also very glad that THEY are the ones who will be calling the shots and shaping the future of this country. #NeverAgain

Jim

If these kids are going to run our country it scares me to death. If they would have spent 17 minutes with the students that they don’t have in their little clicks it would have been time well spent. We don’t have a gun problem we have a problem with the society we live in. Where I grew up just about every pickup truck had a gun in it and we had plenty of fights in school but guns never came out. Guns have always been there but respect,compassion and standing up for yourself have gone out of the hearts of many Americans.

GrizzlyWildcat

And hey, if you're one of the students reading this, don't be upset by the "adults" who insult you, or say you're a pawn, or that school shootings are somehow YOUR fault for not being compassionate/tough/smart/engaged enough. That's cowardly talk.
The world is changing, and it scares these adults. So they lash out, and make you the scapegoat because it's easier than realizing their own culpability in the fact that you have to fear for your life in school. They will try to tell you you don't understand - you do. They will try to make you feel powerless, when in fact, you have far more power than they.
So put it to good use, and keep striving for a safer, fairer, more understanding world. And thank you for what you're doing.

Jim

Grizzly Wildcat to call people cowardly is the typical words that start the hate that cause the problems in this country. As usual you will throw something at the wall to see if it sticks. My entire point was to encourage kids to communicate with one another one on one and help the kids that are feeling left out of society fit in. At that age they have a lot to learn about respect and compassion to their fellow people and protesting in mass does not address that issue. If you think I’m scared or cowardly I’ll show up at your High School and stand guard anytime you want. I have Grandkids in this school district and what is going on in our society makes me sick to my stomach.

Yupjoe

SSRI’s…....Why is nobody talking about SSRI’s? Are 100% of these young-people incidents SSRI cases? Or just 90%? These have horrible side-effects for many who take them or try to get off of them. As Obama said, our medical system is broken.

REB

If having a "comprehensive" background check is so important, why is there no yelling about the removal of 500,000 names of fugitives from the database? Obama made FBI remove them and that really screws up the system. As I have said we have many more problems other than guns. Every one thinks our BGC is so thorough, it's a laugh.

Mudstump

REB - "If having a "comprehensive" background check is so important, why is there no yelling about the removal of 500,000 names of fugitives from the database?"

From what I understand this was a clarification of the meaning of the word "fugitive" between agencies in an effort to conform to federal statutes. This was referred to the DOJ under George W Bush, resolved under Obama and implemented by Trump.

tagup

If common sense background checks are important, I wonder why the NRA opposes them every step of the way....

Mudstump

REB - It seems to me that your sources of information are not giving you the whole story. I read that in the end approximately 70,000 people were purged. This was an effort to be just, fair and consistent to the accused and not deny them the opportunity to buy a firearm unless they met the best and most accurate definition of the term "fugitive" agreed upon and accepted by the agencies involved.

If this was so bad why did Trump go ahead and implement this change that had been in the works since GWB?

REB

mudstump: here is the article https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2018/03/16/fbi-the-obama-administration-purged-500000-fugitives-from-the-gun-background-check-system-n2461438

note the date 3/16/2018

Trafik

Not to be nit-picky, but I don’t recall the last time a mass-shooter was also a fugitive. As always, throwing a largely irrelevant (to school shootings) debate into the mix deflects from the true problem.

I am a moderate Republican who demonstrated proficiency with firearms at a young age. But each time a school shooting occurs, I move further left on this issue and I’m not alone. Why? Because the gun lobby and its minions haven’t yielded one appreciable inch. The flawed concept that bearing virtually unlimited arms is a God-given right has totally usurped common sense: Bob Jones, Gun Enthusiast was bestowed by his Creator with a fundamental right to hoard an arsenal, therefore Jim Wacko, Future School Shooter holds the same right because, up to this point, the conduct of both Bob and Jim meets the popular definition of “law-abiding gun owner.” Then, when Jim shoots up a school, we can wring our hands and demand unlimited funding for mental health (or whatever red herring solution-du-jour the gun lobby fronts) and pretend that guns really didn’t have anything to do with the latest mass shooting.

Up until sometime in the 1990s, I was firmly on the arms-bearing side of this issue. Not any more. We lost our collective arms-bearing credentials when we started removing boundaries we spent centuries erecting and defining. Some of this is for the better: repression is diminishing and compassion is increasing. But along with those disappearing boundaries, we’re also lowering our ability to reason without emotion and to exercise traditional self-discipline—all while sharply reducing accountability. Many of society’s current ills might be attributed to the upending of longstanding social structure. This includes these mind-numbingly common mass shooting events.

Blame whatever political philosophy you want—it’s too late now. The only solution that’ll work is to impose significant restrictions on firearms acquisition. You did it to yourselves, gun nuts.

yamhillbilly2

Thank you Trafik! You’re doing a great job of not letting the gun lobby present the same old tiring arguments. After any mass shooting we always hear ‘now is not the time to discuss gun controls’. Maybe this time, it finally is. Thanks to the kids, for taking a lead in not accepting the stupid denials that pour from the NRA.

Mudstump

I was reminded today that two of our county commissioners (Starrett and Primozich) who are up for re-election voted for and signed a Resolution 011415 in opposition to Senate Bill 941 which strengthened and expanded background checks in Oregon. The resolution was proposed by Mary Starrett and was voted for by all three commissioners at the time.

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