Wednesday, March 14, will be the day many students across the U.S. will protest, rallying for federal gun legislation to make schools safer.
For Ridgevue High School in Nampa, that day will look a little different.
“It’s not about gun control or any of that,” said Bryce Rasmeussen, an eleventh-grader. “It’s strictly just remembering those 17 lives that were lost…letting their family and friends know that we hear them and that we support them.”
Rasmussen is one of the students organizing a peaceful demonstration that day — one focused on empathy rather than politics.
“We might not be able to change what happens hundreds of miles away from us,” said Principal Julie Yamamoto. “…but we, every day, get to decide what kind of person we’re going to be and are we going to be kind.”
Both students and staff will be allowed to participate in the 17-minute observance — one minute for each of those who lost their lives in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentines Day.
“To me, it means that, no matter how young or how old you are, we need to stick together,” Rasmeussen said.
It’s a message Principal Yamamoto says was easy to support.
“Would I rather everyone be in school and learning? Of course I would,” Yamamoto said. “…but if it’s 17 minutes — if that’s what it takes for us as a student body to rally around something to say we need to be our best selves, then yes, I’m proud of them and I’m willing to support them.”
The observance is completely voluntary for students and staff. It’s scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at the school.