Americans are dying en masse from gun violence, and the groups of people with the audacity to challenge the status quo are being targeted by those too pessimistic to envision an America with no mass shootings. As students at Waukesha North march and walk out to create a movement, we are being faced with threats of truancy tickets from an administration which has backtracked their own statements to the point of incoherency.

First, student organizers at North were threatened by the School District of Waukesha for any type of advocacy in any way pertaining to them or their students. After the district’s statement made national news on CNN, Todd Gray gave an interviewing denying his stance against students taking part in the movement. Then again, they changed their stance, with principals giving guidelines to something closer resemble an assembly than a protest.

Still, we tried to find a compromise. The realization that they were warping our ideas beyond recognition came when we were told we couldn’t call it a walkout or a protest. The same administration with the audacity to tell us that The Women’s March, a group actively advocating for legislative change so that it’s harder for students to get hurt, was using us to push their own agenda, turned out to be using us to warp and quiet the story. This is why we were forced to step out of the authority of the School District, so that we can maintain our movement alongside the rest of the nation.

The district’s threat of truancy tickets is used as a tactic to silence our voices as students and leaders. Fellow organizer Emily McMeans said, “A stupid little truancy ticket is a low price to pay for advocating for change in memory of the seventeen lives lost in Parkland last month.”

Young people have always been the basis of progress. In the face of this adversity we have created contacts throughout The Women’s March, The March for Our Lives, and a number of lawyers who have given their support to our cause. To those who would be dissuaded by the threat of disciplinary action, we have lawyers willing to fight for us. We have a nation behind us. We have thousands of students nationwide walking alongside us. We must have the courage to walk out for the 17 who could not.

Waukesha North students will not be deterred from staging a walkout tomorrow, March 14, at 10 am. Students will be meeting at the flagpole after walking out of classes.

Written by Taylor Lehto, Emily McMeans and Kelly Ward

Taylor Lehto and Emily McMeans are students at Waukesha North High School. Kelly Ward is a graduate of Waukesha South and a student at UW-Madison.