CHS Students Walk Out for School Safety


Jack Corcoran and Rayner Reinhardt

On Wednesday, March 14, CHS students participated in the National Walkout Day. An estimated 450 Catonsville students exited their classrooms at 10 a.m. and were directed to the CHS tennis courts in the back of the school.
Students didn’t remain there, however, because they wanted a more public location for their demonstration.

Under the direction of a group of students who are now calling themselves the Student Movement Association, student walkout participants walked to the flagpole in front of the school, waving signs with anti-violence and gun-control slogans.

Many students felt that the location where they were directed limited their ability to effectively protest.
“When the administration announced that they would be moving the protest—our protest—to the small tennis courts, there was a rush of outrage and confusion among the students organizing the walkout,” junior Nicole Gunderson explained.

Even though the administration told students not to go to the flagpole, the protestors felt that this was a student-led protest, and they should be the ones deciding where to assemble.

“The flag pole meant something to us: that we won’t be hidden. It meant more than people think to stand under the flag and demand action,” said sophomore Sofia Brouse.

Although two Baltimore County Police cars were present, the protest was kept peaceful, and the students protested with respect.

“[This protest] shows how our student body is persistent and dedicated towards the cause. This wasn’t just a way to miss class; it meant something,” sophomore Erin Horter said.

Students even engaged in various chants and held up pre-made signs.

Some signs read: “We should feel lucky to go to school…not lucky to come home safe…#enough,” “Guns have changed. Laws have not. #enough,” and “Guns don’t die. Children do.”

Reflecting on the walkout, Gunderson says, “I was shocked, so proud of my school mates, so happy that it finally worked out. We had done it, and right then and there, I knew that this wouldn’t be going away.”

Inside the school, teachers continued their teaching for students who chose not to walk out. They had kept attendance at the beginning of class and at the end of class to see who had walked out and if they had returned.

Principal Matt Ames wanted to make this experience positive for everyone and as least controversial as possible. This meant supporting both students who walked out and who didn’t. It was in accordance with recommendations made by Baltimore County Public Schools.

“If you alienate [even] one student, you haven’t done your job,” Principal Ames said.