Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Guest post: discussing the Walkout with Mr. Talley

The Pine Needle talked with Principal Michael Talley about students’ participation in the National School Walkout as well as how the school is keeping students safe.

By Claire Kurtz

In lieu of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida leading a National School Walkout on March 14th to protest current gun laws, I sat down to talk with our principal, Michael Talley, about students at Central participating.

He told me he’s working with various students to organize a safe experience: “I don’t want students walking out in traffic so I’m working with different students to have a sit-in type of event. We could meet in the auditorium or the gym and students could get up and talk about the gun violence and voice their opinion.” He’s completely supportive and wants kids to get involved, though he does want it to be the students’ movement.

We also talked about the the A.L.I.C.E. training that schools are implementing in their classes. Teachers are training their students to prepare for a shooter: leave the class if the shooter is in the opposite side of the building, barricade the door if he/she is close, and if the shooter manages to break in, grab backpacks, grab chairs, books, computers and hurl them his/her way. The number one rule is don’t do nothing. Your lives are in your hands.

I told Talley that no matter how much we prepare, no one knows how they would react until they’re in that moment. The sheriff deputy during the Florida shooting stayed outside, did not go into the school. If cops with the most training can’t take down an active shooter, how can you ask kids to do that? He reassured me, “Even if you’re not comfortable, I’m sure the majority of the male students in your class will take action and make sure the job gets done.” I also asked him how he felt about arming teachers and he told me that he “could think of more cons than pros. Teachers are here to teach and it’s not their job. We have two armed liaison officers who can report to the scene in seconds.”

The surviving students Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are leading a second National School Walkout on April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

Related stories: kurtz woman will join school gun safety walkout and Rapid City Journal editorial: South Dakota's GOP congressional delegation "get small" on gun safety

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