Students respond to gun violence with activism


Photo 2017.

Ka Leo Staff, Student Life

On  Feb. 14 an armed teenage gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a legal AR-15-style weapon in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 and injuring 15 people. It is recognized as the world deadliest school massacre. Following the attack, students at Stoneman Douglas immediately rallied for stricter gun regulations and started a movement. Students at schools all across the nation are planning a National Student Walkout on March 14 in solidarity against gun violence. At 10 a.m., students will walk out of classes for 17 minutes, one minute for each Stoneman Douglas victim.

Hawaii has relatively strict gun laws compared to other states. You must be 21 years old to buy a firearm. All firearms must be registered. Applicants must obtain a permit from the police department before acquiring a gun. There is a 14-day waiting period between applying for and receiving a permit, to allow for background checks.

Ka Leo O Kalani asked Kalani High School students what they thought about the massacre and the March 14 walkout. Here are their responses.

What do you think about the recent school shooting at Stoneman Douglas public high school in Florida?

“I think it’s a horrible time in society where there needs to change.”

I thought it was scary and I didn’t know why it happened.”

I thought, ‘Wow! Again?’”

“It was a tragedy for sure.”

“I think it’s impacted me that I think about it every day. I’m concerned that schools don’t have the same security as courthouses do. There’s places that have high security and I feel like our security is just chasing students around the hall. I think arming teachers is the most ridiculous idea ever.”

“I think that it’s sad because kids should feel safe at school and with all these shootings, kids are starting to not feel safe at school.”

“I think it’s disappointing and the government and the NRA are stuck on themselves and they need to be open to change that would make kids and everyone feel a lot safer in the United States.”

“It’s just terrible, but everything that has happened in Florida was really terrible and we need to change.”

“It was a tragic unfortunate event.”

“It was tragic, but not really ‘shocking’ to me because school shootings happen so often.”

“I was very sad when I heard about this. I turned on the news and there I watched them talk about this horrific day.“

[SARCASTICALLY] I’m just really glad the kid had an AR-15. With a handgun, he might’ve had to reload his gun, and that would taken too much time. And he practiced good gun safety, I was kind of proud of that.

Do you plan to participate in the National Student Walkout on March 14 at 10 a.m?

“What’s that?”

“What is a student walkout?”


“What walkout? [jokingly] They all fail… No yeah, that’s important.”

“What is that?”



“I did not know about the march.”

“Wait, what is that? When is the walkout?”

“Yeah, I would because it’s to support this event.”

“No, I would not because that’s stupid.”

“There’s a school walkout? I encourage you to participate.”


The Star-Advertiser ran a story on March 6 about Hawaii schools and students who plan on participating in the National School Walkout. They printed a March 2 letter written by Hawaii Dept. of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto to parents and guardians outlining the HIDOE stance. The letter appears to give tacit approval under specific conditions.

“In anticipation of a planned walkout or gathering during school hours, we have advised schools to consider creating a designated walk-out area and encourage students to use the time to share ideas for improving campus safety, security and culture. HIDOE supports students’ Constitutional rights to a peaceful assembly and free expression. Disorderly conduct that disrupts school operations is not acceptable and will be appropriately handled in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct. Students who leave school will be marked with an unexcused tardiness or absence. Participation in an organized walkout is voluntary.”

Many colleges and universities have issued statements saying they will not punish incoming freshmen who receive disciplinary action as a result of participating in planned peaceful student walkouts.