BFA-St. Albans students reschedule walkout for Thursday

By  | 

ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) Students in St. Albans say they plan to protest for school safety on Thursday due to the snowstorm Wednesday.

Just last month, 17 students were killed by a shooter at a Florida high school. That sparked students, administrators and staffers at schools nationwide to take action. Students planned to walk out of class Wednesday at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes to represent each victim in Parkland.

"We are walking for our lives, we are walking for safety, and that's our number one priority," said Shannon MacDonald, a junior at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans.

At least seven other Vermont schools had planned to join the national movement.

"The orange armband is to get people to notice what we are doing," said Daniel Gregory, a senior at BFA.

Gregory says the band is just one way to get the conversation started, and that some of those conversations are with people who struggle to relate to students who fear going to school every day.

"My grandfather talks a lot about when he was in high school. He walked in with a hunting rifle and hung it up in his locker," Gregory said.

Students at BFA-St. Albans say they want the focus of the walkout to be on school safety rather than gun laws.

"People automatically go to gun law when they hear about this situation but there are things we want to see done before anyone talks about that," MacDonald said.

"Locking up the building is a little bit better. We have school IDs, maybe use that to get into the school or something along those lines to make it harder for anyone to walk into the school," said Gregory.

The students say their perspective matters and they believe age shouldn't play a role in their voices being heard here and across the country.

"I was born a year before Columbine. I've never known a world without school shootings," said Sophia Venturo, a BFA-St. Albans student.

"We've never known really what it's like to go to school and not be at least a little bit afraid," said Gregory.

"It's not a good feeling to be afraid that the last time you I love you to your mom in the morning is going to be the last time you ever say it," said MacDonald.

Rutland High School officials say their students didn't want to be a part of the politics of National Walkout Day. Instead, they plan to take a moment of silence to show their support.