Months after school shooting, Freeman students walk out

Students and staff at Freeman High School know the eyes of the community is on them as the debate on school violence takes center stage across the nation.

For two months, student leaders have worked to come up with a message on this national walkout day. It’s no easy task for a district comprised of 800 people with many different opinions.

Friday morning students locked arms as they walked out to the football field, the place where they sought refuge back in September of last year after their fellow classmate opened fire inside the school.

“It’s emotional,” said Superintendent Randy Russell. “Brings back some memories from last fall.”

Their time on the football field was different as student leaders held an optional assembly to come together and pay tribute.

“At Freeman, we’ve healed a lot and we still have a lot of healing to go,” said senior student Jackson Clark. “Everybody is at different places.”

The students chose not to speak to media Friday but shared on Thursday what they hoped to accomplish by walking out.

“We want people to know we are still united and we’ve become stronger because of that tragedy,” said Clark.

“We are really trying to make this that we are OK,” said senior student Konner Freudenthal. “We’ve been through this, we’re supporting change and supporting some sort of new agenda.”

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

The school district released this statement to the media regarding Friday’s walkout.

On September 13, 2017, we experienced first-hand what many students around the nation fear and would never expect, a school shooting. Throughout the healing process we have seen times of grief and pain ad well as hope and growth. This trying period is far from over, but has united us more than ever. In the wake of the recent school shootings, we realize we have a strong voice in influencing social change. We want this voice to represent all of our students and faculty fairly and accurately while not dividing us, but instead show our unity. April 20th will not be a day used for us to push political agenda, but instead to remember our own tragedy as well as others across the nation.

We would also like to express our desire for societal change in America. There is an obvious problem of senseless violence facing our world and something needs to be done. We are a school with diverse opinions; however, on April 20th, as well as every other day, we hope to get behind one central message of unity, change, and perseverance. As we gather this day, may we all look back on the hardships that this community has faced; let it bring us hope as we reflect on how far we have come, and for what is in store for all our futures.

On this day, we also ask that the media as well as outside opinions respect our students and faculty by keeping our intended goal. It is because of your support and love that we continue to remain Freeman Strong