Highland students honor Florida shooting victims with assembly rather than walkout

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) - While students across the country participated in the national walkout Wednesday, one Region 8 school let students lead a powerful assembly.

Trinity Ragland is in seventh grade at Highland Middle School.

Ragland said she wanted to participate in the walkout to honor the 17 killed in the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

But after she asked her teachers, Highland School District Superintendent Don Sharp said he thought an assembly may be a better option.

"When I became aware that there might be students looking to walk out of class today in honor of the 17 victims in the recent school shooting in Florida, I thought this was a good opportunity for our students to use this for what we call a teachable moment," Sharp said.

It was safety concerns that encouraged him to find another way for students to be heard and honor the victims.

"Learning isn't always what they get sitting in a desk or a book," Sharp said. "Sometimes it's learning from experience and sharing information."

Ragland said at first they were disappointed but soon realized they could make an impact with a presentation too.

"We talked about it," Ragland said. "We had meetings multiple times a week, and we put together a slideshow with every kid and teacher that was shot during the Florida shooting and their age and achievements and everything they did in life."

Many students watched as the faces of each individual crossed the screen.

"Once we got on the assembly and we started putting it together more and more, we got really excited and just happy to represent our school the way we do," Ragland said.

One student even wrote a poem that was read aloud at the assembly.

"Our students worked very hard, put together a slide presentation," Sharp said. "It was very honorable, very respectful, and other students were offered the opportunity to come out of the audience and speak to the group as well."

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