Small walkout commemorates Columbine anniversary, hopes to generate support for gun control

Protesting gun violence and honoring the victims of the Columbine school shooting on its 19th anniversary, several students left their third period classes at 10 a.m. on Friday April 20 and marched from Redwood to the Larkspur City Hall as part of a nationwide demonstration.

Junior Sam Mayerhofer participated in the march, although he was skeptical of the actual change it would accomplish.

 Holding up signs against gun control, a group of students participated in a walkout that ended at Larkspur City Hall.

Holding up signs in support gun control, a group of students participated in a walkout that ended at Larkspur City Hall.

“I don’t know if this walkout is actually going to do anything. I don’t want to sound rebellious, but I feel like adults never listen to teenagers, just because of our age, and especially in such small groups. And we are such a small group that I don’t think we will make an impact or even be noticed by the larger school population,” Mayerhofer said.

The group that participated was small, consisting of about 20 students. Sophomore Val Calef was among the few who chose to leave school for entirety of the day, and initially felt uncomfortable being alone in her decision to march.

“It was a little awkward at first because I was the only one to leave my class. It felt awkward knowing it was only me, but once we got people together at the gym, and once we had the support of Mr. Dibley and Mr. Sondheim, it was a little more empowering, and especially once we started chanting,” Calef said.

Principal David Sondheim and campus staff assistant Scott Morgan escorted the students on their march to ensure their safety.

Principal Sondheim stands and talks to junior Sam Mayerhofer during the walkout.

Principal Sondheim stands and talks to junior Sam Mayerhofer during the walkout.

Sophomore Leila Malone initiated participation among some of her friends after hearing about the march. Malone founded the March for Our Lives club earlier this year, which has since been discontinued, but whose members continue to stay active in movements to support gun control.

Malone was disappointed that Redwood students were not aware of the march, and believes it’s important for every school to join in nationwide protests such as these.

“If we start saying, ‘Oh we’re just one school we don’t need to have this responsibility,’ and we start dropping out, then there are thousands of other schools that could be doing that as well,” Malone said. “So even though we’re one school and all the responsibility isn’t on us there’s a lot of responsibility for us to act. Admin should be doing something, Leadership should be doing something; it should definitely be more of a focus point in school.”

Scott Morgan, the campus staff assitant, escorted the protesters from the front parking lot to ensure their safety.

Scott Morgan, the campus staff assistant, escorted the protesters from the front parking lot to ensure their safety.

Despite the smaller size of the walkout, the students who marched to City Hall were still optimistic about the significance of their participation, and especially the impact of larger youth activism.

“I’m doing this because it gives me hope. And I don’t think this walkout will make a difference, but hope is such a strong thing. This walkout and the way teenagers rally together, it shows the power of youth and what youth can do,” Mayerhofer said. “I feel like that is the most important thing of our generation, and the most important thing in the world. And because of this, we’re living in a generation of deep social change.”

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