Hundreds walk out in remembrance of Texas shooting victims


Jaeda Hunter gives a speech May 27 at the RCMS walkout.

Approximately 400 RCMS students participated in a walkout on May 27 to honor the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting. They gathered on the blacktop where they stood for 21 minutes — one minute for each life lost. Many of the students also chose to bring signs and posters to the blacktop, wanting to raise further awareness.

The plan to walk out, organized entirely by students, was sent out on May 26. Many students heard about it through Snapchat. Students were told to notify their teachers, many of whom joined them in honoring the shooting’s victims. It was set to begin at 8:10 a.m.

“As the principal, I can’t condone or deny these things, and I knew that if this is what they wanted, then it was going to happen,” said Mr. Gordon Stokes, principal of RCMS. “I made sure that the staff knew about this, and to make sure everyone was safe.”

Students began heading for the door at around 8:05 a.m., and stood silently on the blacktop for the duration of the walkout while administrators supervised the event. A respectful, nearly-soundless atmosphere befell the blacktop for the next 21 minutes, until students sat down in the middle of the blacktop at 8:31.

“At first it was loud, I mean it was just a bunch of kids on the blacktop, but then it was really interesting to see how quiet everyone got,” said Jaeda Hunter, an eighth-grader on the Voyagers team. “Even the goofballs were being silent and respectful.”

Jaeda then gave a speech as students listened intently while sitting in the rain —  which, coincidentally, stopped at the end of her speech.

“[At the end] when it started raining, nobody said anything, we just stood there while it was raining,” said Vrishank Surakanti, an eighth-grader on the Yellow Jackets team.

 Afterwards, students returned inside, and teachers resumed their first period classes. Mr. Stokes said that, despite the devastating cause, students organized the walkout very well.

“Today’s walkout was very orderly, and most people were there for the right reasons,” he said. “I applaud people who want to take a positive role in the community.”

Vrishanka and Jaeda both believe that changes need to be made to stop shootings like this from happening again.

“When I first heard of it, I was like, ‘oh,’” Vrishank said. “There’s a problem with this world. We hear about a mass shooting and we’re just like, ‘oh.’”

Jaeda took it harder.

“That night, I got absolutely no sleep, I was so distraught,” said Jaeda. “Why would an 18-year-old go into an elementary school?”

“Why do we need AK47s out in the wild?” Vrishank added.

Overall, Jaeda believes that the walkout was a success:

“It was successful in raising more awareness for the topic.”