The Upper School faculty, staff and students at Rocky Hill School partnered for a “Teach-in” and “Walk-out” to observe the #NationalSchoolWalkout Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools on Friday. This date was chosen because it is the 19th anniversary of the Columbine, CO shootings that began the current era of “lock-down culture” in American schools. Following the recent Parkland, FL school shooting, national education leaders and student groups have selected this day as a teachable moment. “Rocky Hill School saw this as an opportunity for students and educators to partner to gain more knowledge, and to further develop the mindset of active citizenship,” Head of Upper School Mike Gwaltney said in a statement. “Our goal today is for the guests and the discussion to approach the issues in a full and balanced way, so that all of us come to better understand the nuances and complexity of regulations and the prevention of gun violence in schools.”
Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and representatives of the interest groups Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence joined the Upper School students, faculty, and staff in discussing the challenges of ensuring safe schools while protecting the rights of responsible gun owners.
“Today marks the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, yet sadly, the gun violence epidemic continues to plague schools and communities throughout the country,” said Langevin. “I was proud to engage in a conversation with students at the Rocky Hill School about how to address this national crisis. No one should have to experience the horrors that took place at Columbine, Newtown, or Parkland, and I will continue to fight for universal background checks, an updated assault weapons ban, and other measures that will help prevent gun violence in America.”
The teach-in was followed by an optional walk-out on campus that was shared with the world via social media.