Students link arms in remembrance, unity after Parkland shooting


Students stand in the hallway of Oxford High School and participate in a moment of silence to commemorate the lives of the victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The names of the 17 victims were read during this time.

Nadeen Al-Ostaz, Staff Writer

Oxford High School students linked arms in the hallway in order to commemorate the lost lives of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida that took place earlier this year.

At exactly 10 A.M. on March 28, it was agreed that students and teachers could step out of their classrooms voluntarily in remembrance of the victims to school shootings.

“As an administrator, and really as a citizen in America and of Oxford, I’m really encouraged by the way that our students chose to demonstrate their desire for unity and safety and respect,” Assistant Principal Chandler Gray said. “I think the idea of locking arms inside the school building sends a great statement that it’s not just about walking out of the school; it’s about staying for the bleeding, and to me, that’s just a strong way to send a message together and in unity.”

Margaret Pepper Adams, student council president, put this event together with Sam Hartnett, senior class president, after the father of one of the victims, Ryan Petty wanted everyone to “step up” to students usually sitting by themselves rather than “step out” of the school, which is a more political take on the subject matter.

“Recently, there was a world-wide walk out that was organized for March 14, which was when we were on spring break, so when we got back, we wanted to participate in the same way,” Adams said. “I think the one on March 14 was a little bit more politically centered, which is totally fine and everybody has their beliefs, but we just wanted to focus on the unity aspect because as a school that’s what we want to do here is unify everybody and open up to each other so we can have difficult conversations and understand what people are going through but also to respect the people that had fallen.”

Math teacher Lindsey Sneed, who took part in the event, says that standing together really helps OHS grow in this time of difficulty.

“I think it’s good for our students, especially our students who may not be involved in the media and the news around the world to have a moment to reflect on what’s happening and think about the fact that it hits closer to home than they may have realized,” Sneed said.

While students linked arms, the names of all 17 lives that were lost in the Parkland shooting were called. According to Sneed, it was “really emotional to hear the names read.”

“I feel like it was something to represent how we also felt about the shooting because it was a very sad moment, and you now all the schools want to be equal right now,” freshman Kaliyah Sisk said. “We want to support them in any type of way and show that we care just like any other because you never know if it would ever happen to our school.”

Assistant Principal Chris Bush says that this is a good time to help students realize that they are being heard.

“It’s always a great opportunity and experience for our students to know that their opinions are valued, and that they can take a stand because even in the school environment we are proud to have been a part of them growing as people and as young adults,” Bush said.

Adams believes standing in unison is really needed to bring Oxford together.

“I think sometimes it takes an event to kind of really let everybody physically see we’re linked, we’re together and that we’re a family,” Adams said.

According to Adams, students linked arms to present Oxford as a united community.

“It really shows that we are a Charger family,” Adams said. “We really do care about everybody here and that you know if anybody’s ever struggling, don’t be scared to reach because that’s what we’re here for.”