Stateline schools prepare for student walkouts on Wednesday, as part of a national movement to protest gun violence. Students from all four Rockford high schools, as well as Belvidere North High School, plan on walking out of class.
Winnebago High School students have no plans to walk out – but came up with an alternative way to deal with the issue.
“At first, my idea was to participate in the nationwide walkout, so I came to [Winnebago Principal] Mr. Gruber and kind of ran that idea by him. He and I came to the conclusion that there’s a lot better options, as to what avenues we can follow for change”, says Alexandra Luchini, a senior at Winnebago High School.
Instead, Winnebago is hosting an assembly forum for both the middle school and high school, where students can bring their gun control concerns to local law enforcement.
“Our local sheriff Gary Caruana has agreed to be part of our forum. State’s attorney Joe Bruscato will be here. That was my commitment to our students, to make sure the right people were there if they were prepared to ask questions and have a good discussion”, says Principal Rob Gruber.
“Being a student here and being a part of the vast web of social media. you hear about a lot of issues going on and a lot from your peers about their anxiety going around this issue,” says Luchini.
The nationwide walk out is expected to last 17 minutes, one minute for each victim killed in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting.
And, while the visual demonstration of a walkout may look impressive, Principal Gruber believes any call for change must start with a conversation.
“[We need to] have a dialogue about what students really want to be heard about, about the issue of gun control and how we handle mental health in our country”, says Gruber.