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On March 14, 2018, thousands of students across America took part in planned walkouts in response to the latest incident of school gun violence, which had killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, exactly one month before. With many Bancroft students expressing a desire to join in this movement, the School coordinated the safety and logistics for student-led walkouts, and made it clear that students would face no disciplinary consequences as a result of their choice to either participate or not.
In separate gatherings at the Field House, Upper School and Middle School students had the opportunity to walk out for 17 minutes in solidarity and support for the 17 victims. Addressing her peers at the Upper School walkout, senior Emily Berthiaume said, “I think it is really important for us as students to remember the people killed not only in Parkland but all across the country. There is a problem in America as students and teachers are dying in schools with alarming frequency. What happened in Parkland has to be the defining moment for us. February 14th cannot just be another day and this cannot just be another shooting.
“With that being said, I don’t want this specific walkout to be an argument about gun control. We all have differences in opinion, but I think where we all can agree is in that we do not want to see our fellow students and teachers killed. School shootings are especially terrifying to me because no one ever thinks they will be affected by one until it happens. I think sometimes we get lost in all of the debates and the arguing but today, what we should do is stand in solidarity with and remember the victims. Because we at Bancroft and people across the nation are tired of seeing our peers die. I believe that these peoples’ names should mean something, so now, I would like for the names of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting to be spoken.”
"It was a thoughtful, moving, and respectful event,” said Upper School Head Lisa Baker. “I was proud to be a Bulldog today.” Middle School Head Trevor O’Driscoll shared similar sentiments about the Middle School participants: “It's hard to capture the innocent purity and poignancy of what I saw.”
At Bancroft we aspire to the best democratic ideals as we foster informed and engaged citizens who contribute to their communities and to the larger society. We are proud that many of our students are actively seeking ways to make themselves heard and be part of the solution.