Berkeley High School joins nationwide protest in response to Florida school shooting

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In response to a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, in which 17 students were killed, Berkeley High School will be joining a nationwide 17-minute school walkout March 14, according to Uma Nagarajan-Swenson, student director for the Berkeley Unified School District.

Although students will be marked absent, no Berkeley High School, or BHS, student will be suspended for participating in the protests, as members of BHS faculty have endorsed the protest, according to BHS junior Maren Frye. The protest will officially begin at 10 a.m. in coordination with numerous other Bay Area schools.

The walkout is in support of more gun control laws, and it has gained nationwide attention in the past few days, especially because some high school administrators are threatening disciplinary action.

However, UC Berkeley, among other colleges, promised high school students in a tweet Saturday that protesting would not affect university admittance in response to a number of tweets about the protests.

“We would never refuse admission based on a prospective student engaging in a peaceful protest. We fully support the right to peacefully protest,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email. “Further, the UC application process does not ask prospective students about high school disciplinary actions. We don’t see or ask for such information.”

Many other universities including Yale University, Dartmouth College and George Washington University have joined UC Berkeley in this action on protests.

Frye is the co-president of Berkeley High Students Demand Action of Gun Sense in America club, which advocates for “common sense gun laws” and works to raise awareness about gun violence in America. Frye’s club and eight other clubs are coordinating the event. Frye added that the plan includes a minute of commemoration for each student who died, voter registration tables and a series of speakers.

According to Judy Appel, vice president of the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education, Berkeley students have a long history of strong activism. She adds that although the school board has not taken an official position, there will be no suspensions in response to the protest, and she personally supports the students’ activism.

Moreover, Nagarajan-Swenson, a BHS senior, said BHS students have organized protests every year since she was a freshman, and she does not know of a single student who faced suspension or disciplinary action.

“I stand with the BHS student body in being incredibly inspired by the words and actions of the Parkland survivors,” Nagarajan-Swenson said in a text message. “Hopefully this action will send a serious message to the nation’s leaders that students are standing up for our lives and safety at school and demand gun reform.”


Contact Yao Huang at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Yhoneplus.

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  • Kurt VanderKoi

    In case you haven’t heard, the massacre in Florida was the result of multiple failures by Federal, State and Local Governments.

    The schools failed, the local police failed, the Florida state bureaucracy failed, the officer on duty failed, the FBI failed. The government’s first duty is protecting citizens. They failed. Ultimately, citizens have to defend themselves. Yet the same government officials who failed to protect us are saying we don’t have a right to do that.

    How is gun control working out in Chicago? How about Mexico?

  • Jack Spencer

    Disarm the people who one day might save your tails. Good thinking.

  • Sam Spade

    Yeah create a facebook event so i remeber this

  • Curtis Jones

    Hello snowflakes, all of the systems failed in the school shooting. Learn never to trust the govt no matter who is in power.

    • BerkeleyCitizen

      Hello Nutjob. For one thing, the system failed when military style assault weapons started being sold. It’s a fantasy to think that armed teachers are going to stop mass murderers armed with assault weapons. We aren’t living in a Marvel universe. No other 1st world country has the gun violence we do. Why is that genius?

      • Kurt VanderKoi

        Assault Rifles vs Semi-Automatic Rifles

        “Assault” is a threat of imminent harmful or offensive contact with a person, or a threat to do so.

        “Weapon” is ANY device used with intent to inflict damage or harm to living creatures, structures, or systems.

        The term “Assault Weapon” is sometimes conflated with the term “Assault Rifle”. The author should differentiate between “Assault Rifles,” which are capable of fully automatic firing, and fire arms which are Semi-Automatic (rifles and handguns). Civilian ownership of machine guns (and assault rifles) has been tightly regulated since 1934 under the National Firearms Act and since 1986 under the Firearm Owners Protection Act.