The Grizzly community is taking part of a nationwide movement on March 14 to protest gun violence and raise awareness for student safety. Principal Tam Larnerd has been active on his personal Twitter account, encouraging students to participate in a Lap For Life, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m.
Larnerd has been an open advocate for student safety as both a principal and parent to a Clark County School District student.
The Lap of Life will be held for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida after a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 17 people on February 14. Students will have 17 minutes to walk around school grounds in memory of the lives lost, and to protest for stricter gun control and an increase in school safety.
“I pray. I pray a lot,” Larnerd tweeted on February 21. “But, I’m tired of hearing politicians and superintendents say, ‘The victims and survivors are in my thoughts and prayers,’ but then turn around and do NOTHING to try to prevent another massacre of students and teachers! Kudos to the students! #SchoolSafetyMatters.”
CCSD sent out a memo on February 21, that students who decide to walk out will receive “consequences.”
Larnerd, however, says students can not be marked absent or truant until 30 minutes of class have already taken place.
Larnerd said he is in full support of this movement and takes the safety of students and staff as a priority.
“It’s important for all of us to advocate for the things we believe are important,” Larnerd said. “100 years ago women didn’t have the right to vote, so they protested. 50 years ago African Americans didn’t have civil rights, so they protested. Change can happen, but the powerfulness that these are students standing up is a pretty substantive movement.”
The “March For Our Lives” movement is being led by survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting, and are demanding change from Congress and local legislatures. Students are hoping to make a difference in the way the nation handles gun laws
Students on campus have expressed anger about another school shooting.
“I believe that the walkout is an admirable attempt at calling for action, regardless of which side of the debate you stand with,” Sophomore Tristan Gorst said. “While I do not believe that the majority of students partaking in the walk out have developed their own opinions on the matter, I do believe in our right to peaceful assembly and protest. It is important to stand for what you believe in cause that is what drives democratic societies forward.”
Gorst has also started a movement, encouraging students to wear white wristbands – a promise to be brave in the face of danger. Those students who wear a wristband declare that they will act to defend in the event of a shooter on campus.
“If we stand together, we send a message, and that message goes out to any who conspire against our schools and our communities; ‘We are not afraid of you.’” Gorst said.
The movement has an official Instagram page with 37 followers and uses the hashtag #promisetoprotect.
English teacher Amy Devaul said she has helped students deal with the aftermath of Columbine, Texas Tech, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and now Parkland. She described today’s youth as desensitized to the issue of mass shootings. But what people often forget, is that school shooting affect more than just students.
“Each time it happens I’m more and more cognizant,” Devaul said. “That teachers go to work and their families worry if they are going to come back alive. That’s not what we signed up for.”
Though most agree that the solution is a difficult one, Devaul and many others believe it starts with CCSD.
“They needs to put their money where their mouth is,” she said.
“We need more than one officer. We need more than 3 hall monitors. We need more counselors.”