School walkouts: Good or bad press?

By: Carter Houtman, reporter

On March 14, in high schools and colleges across the nation, students participated in National School Walkout Day to protest gun violence in the United States. This came one month after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting left 17 victims, students and faculty alike, dead, and many young people around the country angry about the current gun laws we have in place. The aftermath of the shootings led to one student more notably than the others, David Hogg, to be the lead of a national movement of high-school and college students to push for gun reform.

People say, “There’s no such thing as bad press.” In some ways, that’s true. For many issues, especially on the political spectrum, any press gets people talking about the main issue. Therefore, it opens a dialogue and makes people discuss the issues’ intricacies, many times resulting in healthy debates.

This has held true with the school walkouts, but only in some key areas. The only schools that got any press at all are the large schools that were in big cities or at the schools where the shootings happened. The students in all of the other high schools around the nation were either not allowed to participate, not allowed to leave the building or had little to no press to talk to about what happened at their school. This is true for a lot of the schools in the Tri-City area, where the majority of high schools in the area didn’t allow the students to leave the school buildings. The only school in the area that did a legitimate walkout was Dow High School of Midland, and even then, didn’t appreciate press being at the school.

Good or bad press, I suppose, isn’t the issue. The issue is exposure, and the level of exposure this event really needed in order to take off was not met. The day after the walkouts, people went back to their usual lives. They didn’t have the impact they wanted because they didn’t have enough exposure to really make an impact with legislators and voters nationwide.

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