CHICAGO, IL (March 16, 2018) — Covenant teenagers were among the tens of thousands who walked out of school to protest gun violence on Wednesday. Some were joined by their relatives.
About 70 students at the Minnehaha Academy Upper School in Minneapolis participated, said vice principal Mike DiNardo. “They were very respectful.”
Principal Jason Wenschlag had sent a letter to parents saying the school would permit the students to leave at 10 a.m. for the 17-minute protest against gun violence in response to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students dead.
During their protest, the Minnehaha students stayed on school grounds and read each of the victims’ names.
Minnehaha Academy, which opened in 1913, is operated by the Northwest Conference of the ECC.
Lisa Holmlund, pastor of youth and family ministries at Grace Community Covenant Church in Olympia, Washington, said that she attended the walk-out at Timberline High School in nearby Lacey. “What was cool where I was is that after students went back inside, the student leaders who organized it all came over to shake hands and talk with the parents and adults who were standing on the outside in support.”
Some students who attend Covenant congregations in other parts of the country were accompanied by relatives.
Erica Crone, a member of Salem Covenant Church in New Brighton, Minnesota, said, “I joined my son and our high school and middle school students. An incredibly powerful walk on the path around our ball fields. A time to mourn. A time to weep. A time to remember Parkland.”
Dick Nystrom, a retired Covenant minister living in Portland, Oregon, said he walked with his grandchildren and that they wore orange. “The color orange is representative of the students’ gun control initiative, which is the same color worn by hunters for their own protection,” he said.
Other Covenanters took issue with the protests. One former educator said he preferred that students participate in “Walk Up, Not Walk Out,” which was started by Ryan Petty, father of one of the teens killed in Parkland.
Petty said he didn’t think the walkouts would accomplish much. He posted on Twitter, “Instead of walking out of school in March 14, encourage students to walk up. Walk up to the kid who sits alone at lunch and invite him to sit with your group; walk up to the kid who sits quietly in the corner of the room and sit next to her….Walk up to your teachers and thank them; walk up to someone who has different views than you and get to know them-you may be surprised at how much you have in common.”