Siuslaw Students Show Solidarity
About 100 students from Siuslaw High School walked out of class at 10 a.m. yesterday in a show of solidarity. The national movement involved several thousand schools in protest of current gun laws and a desire to focus on keeping students safe while in school. Several adults joined the protests but were quietly moved away from the students. One supporter, Carol Thompson, said that the students were quiet and were just standing out in front of the school, at first.
“Basically they just stood there and then we began to hear the chanting coming from the junior high, middle school direction.”
Thompson said the two groups converged into one large group for a peaceful protest on the sidewalk on Oak Street. The middle school students were participating in a fire drill at the time. After a short stint outside Thompson said someone spoke to the group.
“An Adult came out and spoke to the kids and then there was some applause.”
The students then returned to their classrooms according to Thompson. A rumor had circulated that some 2nd amendment activists planned to attend the walkout, but that apparently did not happen.
Florence Police Called For Safety Concerns
The show of Police presence at yesterday’s School walkout was in no way an indication that Florence police were concerned about the student’s activity. But rather Commander John Pitcher says they were just there for the students.
“We weren’t concerned about the students doing anything we were more concerned about their safety and anyone from the outside trying to get involved.”
Pitcher said all in all it was a substantial turnout.
“A lot of kids were involved but there were no issues and nobody caused any problems so it went real well.”
Four officers including school resource officer Brandon Bailey and Chief Tom Turner were on sight for the protest. Siuslaw School Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak said that while the school itself does not condone the interruption of classes for such protests, there is consideration for the rights of students.
“We do acknowledge the students right to peaceably assemble and their first amendment rights.”
Overall according to Grzeskowiak it was a relatively minimal interruption.
“It was fairly simple, fairly easy. The kids went out, they made their message, and they came back in. The whole thing was over in about 22 minutes.”
Social media rang in with parents on both sides of the issue speaking out defending their positions. Some harshly criticized the students but many supported them. Grzeskowiak was quick to point out that this was not a sanctioned school activity.
The second annual wine art and jazz fest, FlorenceFest 18 will be the weekend of April 27th and 28th and the Florence Regional Arts Alliance is seeking out artists that would like to participate in the event. There will be prizes awarded for the top three submissions including a $1000 first prize. Additional cash awards will be included for 2d, 3d and photography. Art Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon, Margaret Prentice will be selecting the art for the exhibit. Deadline for submissions is this Sunday. For more information interested parties can email FRAAflorencefest@gmail.com