Sequim students stage walkout in favor of gun rights

“Stand for the Second” is a student-driven movement organizing walkouts at high schools across the U.S.

By Erin Hawkins / Sequim Gazette

Sequim High School students staged another walkout onto the campus’ courtyard this week but with the sole purpose of standing for the right to bear arms.

“We’re all gathered because of the Second Amendment, and the right to bear arms is important to us,” said Garrett Wehr, a Sequim High School senior. “Guns aren’t the issue, people are.”

A group of about 50 students participated in the nationally organized school walkout for 16 minutes at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 2 at the Sequim High School flagpole.

The national walkout, known as “Stand for the Second,” is a student-driven movement organizing walkouts at high schools across America on May 2. The movement was founded by Will Riley, a high school senior from Carlsbad, N.M.

During the walkout, some students carried several different flags — a traditional American flag, a Gadsden flag that read “Don’t Tread on Me” and an American flag with a blue stripe through it, commonly known for supporting law enforcement and the “Blue Lives Matter” movement. Other students wore patriotic top hats, shirts, or other clothing and at one point Wehr stood on the ledge of the flag pole and addressed students.

“We’re here to show Sequim this is what kids believe in,” he said later.

Breelynn Bennett, a Sequim High senior and one of the organizers of the walkout, said she and other students organized the event to be a part of a national walkout after said she and other students attended a conference call with organizers of “Stand with the Second” to learn more about the walkout before presenting the idea to school administration.

She said at the organized school walkout at Sequim High on March 14 supporting gun control reform, many students who had different opinions did not participate and now this was their chance.

“(The walkout) was just to let the people know that there are different (opinions) than taking all the guns away and keeping all the guns,” she said. “And there are people in the middle.”

Bennett said the walkout was approved by school administrators. Sequim High School Principal Shawn Langston said the original time set for the national walkout was 10 a.m., but because that coincided with state testing administrators and students agreed to move it to 1 p.m.

Sequim High staff, administration, the school’s resource officer and other Sequim Police Department patrol cars were present during the walkout.

After students organized for 16 minutes, they returned to their fifth period classrooms.

Students who rallied in favor of stricter gun policies on March 14 were not at the May 2 “National School Walk Out” event, a 17-minute demonstration — one minute for each of the 17 people killed at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

Reach Erin Hawkins at ehawkins@sequimgazette.com.


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