THN students advocate for walkout instead of assembly

Last year's bomb threat at Terre Haute North Vigo High School put a different kind of fear in some students.

Posted: Mar. 13, 2018 10:38 PM
Updated: Mar. 13, 2018 11:15 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Last year's bomb threat at Terre Haute North Vigo High School put a different kind of fear in some students.

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"Last year we had that scare at North, and it just really opened my eyes," said Sloan Pollom, THN Junior.

When they saw the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, it was a feeling too familiar.

"This could easily be us," said Pollom.

Pollom, Hannah Cervantes, and Ellie Hampton planned to participate in the National School Walkout at Terre Haute North. The walkout is a nationwide peaceful protest that allows participants to walk out of school to raise awareness of gun violence and school safety. It's also in remembrance of the 17 victims killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

However, the three students were met with disappointment when they found out Vigo County Schools were having assemblies instead of a walkout.

"When they said there was going to be an assembly, it just seemed as though we were making light of it and kind of taking the political aspect out of it," said Hampton, THN Senior, "Whether or not it was the intent, we do feel as if it's a means to take away our voice."

The girls sent a letter to the school corporation asking leaders to reconsider.

Click here to see a full letter from Pollom to school

"We wrote letters to them and said we'd be able to talk about possible safer ways to do it and to propose solutions," Pollom said.

The group met with Superintendent Dr. Danny Tanoos Tuesday morning.

While Tanoos was not able to go on camera, he did offer a follow up statement in regards to what was discussed at the meeting.

He told us students will now be allowed to participate in the walkout on Wednesday. Participating students will walk out to a designated area outside. However, students who choose to participate will be met with a detention as a consequence. Students plan to walk out around 10 a.m.

The assembly, Tanoos says, will still be held Wednesday. However, if a student chooses to disrupt the assembly in any way, they will be met with a consequence greater than a detention.

For Pollom, Hampton and Cervantes, the detention is a consequence they're willing to take if the outcome is using their voices so others can too.

"You don't always have to be quiet and you don't always have to play by the rules," Pollom said, "It's important to speak your mind."

"Peaceful protest is always the first step to change," Hampton added, "and even though we are students, and even though it may not get a lot of attention, just kind of standing your ground and making your opinions known is very important."

"I had a lot of people ask me what is the walk out," Cervantes, THN Junior, said, "and so it's really just to inform people, and spread awareness, and know that their voices can be heard and that our age isn't a barrier to that."

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