Diversity Club Meets to Plan March 14th Events


Students raise their hands to discuss the gathering being planned for March 14th. Photo by Joie Knouse

Grace Roeshot, Staff Writer

At 4:28 PM, after discussing fourteen minutes past the proposed deadline, State High students at the Diversity Club meeting decided on a way to stand in solidarity and honor the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The meeting began at 3:30 PM on February 27th after around three dozen students filed into an English classroom. Some sat, and some stood. There weren’t enough chairs for the amount of interested students, but that didn’t stop them from making their voices heard.

The two options proposed were either a lie-in in the lobby or a walk out with speakers from the community (including students and school administrators). The final vote was narrowed down to a gathering outside of the school.

“We’ll have student speakers reading off biographies of the seventeen victims lost in the Parkland shooting. And then we’ll have a moment of silence and following the moment of silence we will have the Master Singers singing a song,” senior Kayla Fatemi said. If time constraints allow, there may be a student speech or two. In the case of inclement weather, the event could possibly be moved to inside the North building gym.

Fatemi, who ran most of the meeting, told the group that she had gotten permission from school administrators to organize some sort of gathering for the cause. This included having a twenty-five minute “flex period” to either stay inside of students’ regular classrooms, write letters to congress, or participate in one of the options discussed on Tuesday. This flex period would decrease the number of students that got detentions for walking out of class.

The main concern of the March 14th gathering was school safety, not politics. Since the school was allowing students to have a twenty-five minute flex period, it was not to be politicised in order to include everyone. 

Some students brought up the idea that a flex period where students are allowed to not participate if they don’t want to takes away from the impact of marching out of class. “The problem with it is that they took a chunk of the day out for it [the gathering] and I appreciate that but it takes away from the impact of it. It’s not like you’re standing up and walking out of class for this,” Sydnee Rockey, a sophomore who attended the meeting, said.

The idea of a lie-in would include as many people who wished to participate lying down for seventeen minutes. Each minute, one person would stand up and share a short biography on a victim and how they died. This was disputed because some argued that a lie-in would “sensationalize” the victims or exclude large groups of other people who were killed by gun violence this past year. Another student explained that a lie-in is usually done in front of people in a position of power, like the demonstration in front of the White House on February 19th. Since students would be lying down in the lobby in front of an office that had approved the proposition to do a lie-in, it would be futile. In the end, the majority of students voted against a lie-in, extinguishing the idea.

Though the school wanted a non-partisan gathering to occur, some students argued that bringing politics into the cause and talking about controversial topics such as gun control would be inevitable. “Because it’s a school sponsored event, it’s not supposed to be politicized. But if it weren’t, then I’d want it to be politicized,” Rockey said. “In order for things to change there needs to be an argument and since the school is trying to make it non-politicized, I hope people come and listen to the speakers.”

Fatemi agreed that the influence of politics is unavoidable. “I think it’s definitely very inherently political but I think that the purpose of this event is to reach a wide audience and to communicate and facilitate conversation between people who are against or for gun control,” Fatemi said. 

“We can kind of unite sides to agree that something has to be done even if we disagree on what has to be done.”

Diversity and Activism club meets every Tuesday after school, usually on the first floor of the D pod, until 5:00 PM.

There will also be a nationwide school walkout on the 20th of April. This march is not condoned by the school, and students will receive a detention for leaving class. The walkout will be similar to the walkout last year after the 2016 election.

Fatemi said that the walkout is a way of showing peaceful civil disobedience, even if a student must accept the consequences. “We’ve seen with movements throughout history, like with the Civil Rights movement, that that is the best way to get things done,” Fatemi said. 

“I feel like as the ‘Gen Z-ers,’ we’re the victims. We’re the ones who are being targeted and threatened. We can’t come to school with the absolute certainty that we will go home at the end of the day which is really something we should not live in.”