At 10 a.m. March 14, approximately 700 Noblesville High School students took part in an organized, 17-minute walkout. The event served as a demonstration against gun violence in fellowship with students across the nation in response to last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Approximately 400 students at East Middle School and 200 at West Middle School also took part in the walkout. Noblesville Police Dept. officers were on site for safety monitoring.
The entirety of the school day saw events organized by students to show support for MSDHS students and to honor victims of the Feb. 14 shooting, along with victims of all school shootings. At 6:45 a.m., students held a prayer vigil around the school flag. At 7:35 a.m., an extended moment of silence was observed, and during lunch, students had the opportunity to invite teachers to eat with them to discuss thoughts and concerns on school safety.
“The goal of March 14 is to remember the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to honor their community’s loss by telling the stories of the students impacted by the shooting,” said Mary Blake Brock, student body president at NHS. “Noblesville High School looks forward to celebrating acts of compassion and empathy, while remembering and honoring the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. In times like these, we must stand together as a student body, district and community.”
Weeklong plans and a variety of events were proposed by student leadership to high school administration earlier this month in an effort to keep demonstrations and student initiatives for the week of March 12-17 focused, organized and safe.
“NHS student leaders initiated discussion with high school administration on this topic and have several safe, constructive, student-led activities to honor Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims planned for the week,” Noblesville Schools Supt. Beth Niedermeyer said. “Some examples include writing empathy messages, recognizing random acts of kindness, wearing MSDHS school colors, producing a video to honor victims and more. Their stated focus (was) to increase empathy and awareness rather than just walk out of school. We appreciate and respect our students’ thoughtful and detailed planning, initiative, advocacy and voice.”
“I was very impressed with the maturity and thoughtfulness of these student leaders. They spoke from the heart on issues that matter deeply to them,” NHS Principal Jeff Bryant said. “I agreed to share their student-led plans for the week of March 12 with our student body and the parents of our students.”
National events also have prompted the district to organize a Parent School Safety Forum, set for 6 p.m. March 19 at East Middle School, 1625 Field Dr., Noblesville. The event will be hosted in conjunction with the Noblesville Police Dept. At the forum, the district said it and NPD will share information on school safety procedures and partnerships, best practices for school safety, mental health outreach and how to raise safety concerns.
“School safety has been on the minds of many since the shootings in Florida,” Niedermeyer said. “Our hearts ache for the devastating loss of lives, and we mourn with the country as we try to make sense of it all. I appreciate the conversations with parents who have reached out to discuss safety and offer support as we continue to review our practices and systems designed to keep students safe.”