Norwalk students walk off campus in support of gun control

Southeast Academy students stand at formation in a show of support for National Walkout Day. Photo by Raul Samaniego

Southeast Academy students stand at formation in a show of support for National Walkout Day. Photo by Raul Samaniego

NORWALK – Exactly one month after the shooting and killing of 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the nationwide walk-out of high school students came to Norwalk on Wednesday.

At John Glenn High School on Shoemaker Avenue, Vice Principal Leonard Shryock said no student would be impeded from participating if they chose, but they must leave through the front doors of the main office, the only unlocked gate/door on the campus.

A microphone was to be set up on the campus and the 10 am snack time was extended to accommodate students wishing to participate in their own way. Anyone could use the microphone in a free speech opportunity to share their feelings.

Shryock, who also serves as Norwalk’s vice mayor, walked over to the Southeast Academy to meet the director, Master Sergeant Marty Schafer, prior to the 10 a.m. national start time.

Sgt. Schafer explained that their students would assemble on the quad area where the leadership and physical fitness instructor, M. Sgt. Steve Allard would address the student body and lead them in a bit of PT (physical training).

In his still-strong drill sergeant-like voice, he shouted, “We’re gonna sound off while those (unintelligible) across the street go down to the Starbucks and get a cup of coffee!”

Students at the Southeast Academy, who follow a disciplined regiment of training and education, jogged twice around the grass field as a response for a call to recognize the 17 casualties of the Florida high school shooting.

As Shryock walked back to the John Glenn campus, a few dozen students were seen also returning, some with coffee or Slurpee cups in their hands.

Shryock said he was glad to see the students returning to the campus. 

John Glenn is familiar with on-campus violence. In 1997, a 21-year-old man shot and killed his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend in front of horrified students at the campus. He then fatally shot himself.

Still, Shryock said he remains opposed to arming teachers in schools.

Currently, one armed deputy splits time between both John Glenn and Norwalk high schools every day.

By Raul Samaniego

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