Cinnaminson Student Walkout Produces Positive Message But Mixed Feedback

Nasirah Calloway
Erinkimber Cunnane, Lily Myers, Nick Hanni, Julia Carlin, Laini Parejo, Casey Koukoski, Justin Arnold, Hope Addlesberger (back left) and Milan Patel (back right) gather for the presentations for the student walk-out on March 14.

From Staff Reports, Sara Mayerberg, Nasirah Calloway, Wayne Reynolds, Trey Dolan, and Liam Wharton

One month to the day after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where seventeen people were killed and seventeen more were wounded, Cinnaminson High School (CHS) joined the nationwide walkout against gun violence when hundreds of students walked out for 17 minutes at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14.  The students marched to the stands on the football field where a short program was held to promote gun safety in America and how all Cinnaminson students could treat one another with more thought and care.

Student Council and Administration at Cinnaminson met and agreed that the walkout should be in line with the national walkout and worked together to achieve the structure that the walkout achieved.  Cinnaminson Superintendent Stephen Cappello, CHS Principal Mrs. Llewellyn and Cinnaminson Director of Public Safety Mickey King were all involved in the planning and follow-through of the walkout, which went off smoothly and quietly.  Instead of possibly having unrest or disruption to classes while possibly following through on a number of objectives during the 17 minutes, the students were organized in a walk to the stadium and shared their thoughts that centered around how to prevent these types of massacres from happening again and how Cinnaminson students can do their parts to be better people.

Cinnaminson junior Erinkimber Cunnane helped to organize the rally and discussed gun control and had pamphlets about gun control to hand out to the students but senior Nick Hanni spoke about the need for students and what they need to do in the clip below.

Nick said that “(Cinnaminson students can) be the change for all of us, for generations to come… It is not okay that when we see that people that has (sic) mental issues or isn’t okay is by themselves (sic),” referring to students being lonely at lunch or being excluded.

After all the positive messages, students came back and reintegrated themselves back into class and finished the day of class with no disturbances or problems of any kind.

There were lots of views being shared about the walkout, on both sides of the spectrum.  Not every student was happy about the walk out and program.

“I chose not to participate because I felt like it was being more political and about gun control about the Parkland, FL incident of those people,” junior Nick Vallone continued.  “I think it was a good idea, I just don’t think the people who were running should have made (it) political, it should been about the people who died not about gun control. I like what Holy Cross did, they decided to pray.  I know we can’t pray but maybe 17 mins of silence.”

Senior Allen Hall felt differently and wanted to show respect to those who died.

“I wanted to show respect to the 17 people who lost their lives,” Hall continued.  “I thought it was very well put together and very peaceful, I like that it wasn’t politically driven and people coming out, trying to yell at you or change your views. It was mostly about people respecting the people that die and promoting shop safety.”

Senior Ayden Bucci has very definitive views on why he participated.

“I’m out here to remember the lives that were lost for a pointless action, I’m not here to express political views because I don’t think they can be answered in our community. Our community can only come together as a whole and to prevent these situations from happening, to make these people feel like they have a home, to be united and to stand together.”

Senior Ryan Coslove was also trying to pay his respects.

“I am here to my respects to the lives that were lost in the Parkland shooting, Sandy Hook, and Columbine. This is not supposed to be political and I understand the talk about gun control, but I just wanted to be respectful,” Coslove said.

Sophomore Jacob Campbell  believes the walk out will not change much because of human nature.

“I walked out to respect the people who died at the high school shooting. Sadly, I don’t think it
will accomplish anything because there will always be students who are neglected and in order
to feel better about themselves will take it out on other students,” he said.

Freshman David Norman was not happy about the program.

“I didn’t go out because I think that it was a waste of class time even though we were at lunch and that it was also all about politics and gun control laws,” he said.

Ultimately, Senior Eilis Callaghan was very appreciative of what everyone was willing to do on Wednesday.

“I appreciate that everyone came out here and did this. People see it as an insignificant protest, but after more and more students start to come together from schools around the world it will show the difference we’re making,” she said.