Inside North Central High School in Farmersburg, students didn’t cause any disruption. Just a 17 minute assembly to name the 17 victims lost in the Florida shooting.
School officials say they had a big turn out today. Staff and faculty didn’t want to talk, saying this entire inside movement was managed by the students.
No student walked out of North Central Jr/Sr High School’s doors for the national event. Instead around half of the student body walked in and walked up.
Ditching their backpacks and notebooks for a 17 minute moment of reflection.
“We wanted it to be like calm and peaceful and not to just walk out of school and disrupt everyone else, it’s something more of respect that we were showing,” Senior Phoenix Newman said.
Newman is a part of the peer leader group that organized the assembly. She says their motive isn’t simply saying enough is enough when it comes to gun violence, it’s more of saying the buck stops in the school.
“It does start with students, that’s the only way it’s going to change.”
One way they’re doing that is walking up to students who sit alone at lunch or in class and trying to be inclusive. These efforts spread quickly to teens who attended Wednesday’s assembly like senior Sarah Shake.
“So those who stay in their little box, you can help them get out of that box,” she said.
And it’s by the little things.
“If we’re rolling our eyes at a teacher’s assignment, we can together roll our eyes. You can just talk about a question together, just kind of lightly engage in conversation.”
The efforts even extend outside of school hallways.
“You can just smile at Walmart, thank people for greeting you. I’ve just been trying to do it everywhere, not just school.”
It’s young minds like these who know that shaping a future starts right away.
“It’s really hard to like after high school get out there and talk to people when you don’t feel included or you don’t have the courage or confidence … When you start in high school you build that confidence to be able to go out there and make yourself in the world,” Newman said.
Some of the work North Central peer leaders do outside of this event is visit local elementary schools and encourage the younger kids to do well in class. They participate in schools events to demonstrate that they are leaders.
Sullivan High School students also participated in the 17 minute assembly today, indoors, pledging to do acts of kindness.