Exclusive: Freeman students share plans to deliver message to community on National Walkout Day

Freeman High School students and staff know the eyes of the community are on them as the issue of school violence takes center stage across the nation. It was only last September that a student opened fire in a second-floor hallway, killing sophomore Sam Strahan and injuring three other girls.

They’ve worked for the last two months to come up with a way to best describe how they are feeling. No easy task when you have a district with 800 people and many different opinions.

Freeman High School senior Jackson Clark said, “at Freeman we’ve healed a lot and we still have a lot of healing to go; everybody is at different places.”

“The big thing we have to remember is it was a different experience for everyone,” Freeman High School principal Jim Straw added.

As talks of walkouts, marches and rallies cause debate around the nation, it;s a group of student leaders at Freeman that have tasked themselves with putting together a message, focusing on unity.

“We want to have one core message. We all stand together. We all love each other and we want to support each others different ideas for change,” junior Christina Morrison explained.

During lunch hours they widened the discussion to include the entire student body. Weekly, they met with their principal. All agreed politics should be off the table.

Konner Freudenthal, a senior, shared, “the worst thing we can do right now is divide anybody in our school.”

They chose words of unity, persistence and strength.

“A message of healing and a message of hope. That we can continue to get through this, we are not going to stop, and continue to be Freeman strong,” Clark added.

The leaders will walkout and present their message Friday on the football field during an assembly; but you might not see the entire student body joining them, and that’s OK.

Senior Andrew McGill explained, “nobody knows where everyone is at so it’s really hard to gauge where everyone is in the coping they’ve gone through.”

Then, they’ll walk back in; show of support for the teachers and administrators who’ve done so much for them.

“They are our role models, they are our leaders,” added Freudenthal.

McGill said, “All the support we’ve had over the past year is just amazing, and the Freeman community has grown stronger because of that.”

At their assembly students say they’ll also have volunteers on hand to help students register to vote as well as a musical performance by one of their peers who wrote a song in memory of Strahan.