On Wednesday at 10 a.m. a couple hundred Maplewood Richmond Heights High School and Middle School students gathered on the soccer field for a 17-minute remembrance of the 17 high school students and staff shot in Florida last month.
They gathered around 17 white folding chairs, each with a white rose and a photograph of one of the victims.
After hearing about each of the victims, as students held up their photos, assistant high school principal, Deann Myers asked three questions, which she said came from the students: how they can impact the climate and culture in their own school, who do they talk to if they’re concerned about someone or something, and what do they do when they see someone not fitting in.
“There were a lot of conversations about how to avoid any political talk, while expressing their concerns for everyone’s safety,” Meyers said. She said the feeling of not belonging and loneliness, which has seemed to be a constant in each of the shootings, is very critical to everyone at the school.
Principal Kevin Grawer said the students had three or four meetings to plan the 17-minute meeting to respect the lives lost and possibly create some change.
“For us it’s business as usual,” he said. “Teaching and learning are our focus every day. Taking care of the kids is also our number one focus. We revisited a lot of our safety procedures and protocols, which I’m sure every school in the country has done, and we continue to do that and make sure we do all we can.”
Grawer said participation was voluntary, and that teachers were inside to continue class for any students.
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