Maine Educators United Against Gun Violence organized a symbolic teacher walkout on March 15, 2018. Educators left their Portland schools at 3:30 pm and marched towards a rally at Portland City Hall featuring students, teachers, Gubernatorial Candidate Mark Eves, and Portland Police Chief & MGSC Board Member Mike Sauschuck. Maine educators have had #enough and are staging a symbolic walkout to show that educators are united in their commitment to end the cycle of senseless gun deaths in our country.
Hana Delaney, Waynflete Class of 2018 read the following poem:
what did you learn in school today?
last week in school i learned
how to find the derivative of a logarithmic function.
i learned how to write a sestina poem
i learned what part of the brain controls memory, and the history of morocco
and the causes of global warming.
last week in school
at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida
the students learned the physics of how fast a bullet travels.
last week in school the teachers learned how to use their bodies as shields
last week in school, the students learned how to run a race
where the winner was the one who didn’t get shot.
last week in school they learned how to stifle a scream
as bullets danced down the hallways.
so this week in school
we learned how to use safety scissors as knives
and how to barricade classroom doors.
This week in school we learned how to break through glass
and jump out of a second floor window
because a broken leg is better than a gunshot.
this week in school
the students of Parkland,
learned how to write a eulogy
and how to attend 17 funerals in week.
this week in school the parents learned how to rest a hand
on a grieving mother’s shoulder and say “i’m sorry”
when they really mean “thank god it wasn’t mine”
this week in school
i learned how to be angry
because this week in school I learned that
when it comes to outlawing abortion, or muslim bans,
or keeping two people who love each other from getting married
because they happen to both be men,
it is all for the sake of the children.
but when we are dying at our desks, they do not care.
this week in school i learned
that when a white man holds an AK 40-7
it’s a godforsaken american right.
but when it’s a toy gun in the hands of a 13 year old black boy
it’s a reason to get shot.
this week in school i learned that
every woodchip on every playground is soaked in blood.
this week in school i learned how
to tell my mother “i love you” every morning
just in case today i’m the one who doesn’t come home.
what did you learn in school today?
Atia Werah, Waynflete Class of 2018, gave a brilliant and powerful speech!
Portland Chief of Police Mike Sauschuck gave the following speech representing MGSC:
Mark Eves, Candidate for Governor and former Maine Speaker of the House, also spoke:
Speeches were also given by:
- Geoff Wagg, Waynflete Head of School
- Waynflete English Teacher Jim Millard
- Portland Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana - Read his excellent article in the Forecaster - it even mentions the walkout & MGSC.
- Lindsay Kaplan, Waynflete French Teacher and rally co-organizer
- Bobby Shaddox, 7th Grade Teacher, King Middle School
For more information about Maine Educators United Against Gun Violence, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward it to the teacher leaders.
“I saw a headline the other day,” said student organizer Christie Gillies. “It read: ‘A Unique American Ritual, The School Shooting.’ Is this what we’re going to let these shootings become, a tradition? A practice so perfected by years of experience that we have protocols about how to act, what to say, where students should put their hands as they run out of school as a gunman is pursuing their friends? Is this normal?”
"At Cape Elizabeth High, the event will include an appearance by Maine Gun Safety Coalition executive director Nick Wilson... 'They, the students, are keeping this story (the Parkland shooting) alive, and I think we’re all surprised by how involved they are,' Wilson said. 'As a movement and as a generation, we’ve failed these young people by not closing the loopholes in gun laws. Now we need to support them and get out of their way.'"
“We should have the right to feel safe in our classroom,” said Jackson Peck, a senior at Nokomis who also organized Thursday’s walkout, addressing the students gathered at the front of the high school. “Students and teachers all across this state and all across this country should not be fearful that their brothers, sisters, friends and teachers may become one more name on a growing list of victims. So I applaud you all for standing up for change.”
“If protests were always popular, women wouldn't have the right to vote and black people would still be slaves,” said student organizer JacksonPeck. “Activism can start at any age and its importance is always there. Especially for younger generations in this country, it’s important for us to voice our opinions. I can vote. I can go out and vote, why should I not be able to voice my opinions?”
“You know it's our lives that are being impacted by it and a lot of the people in power have never felt the type of fear students who are going to school today have to fear and so it's important that we get that message out,” Sage Waterson, Senior at Yarmouth High School.
“I don’t want to go to school worried for my safety because politicians value the right of a gun over my right to live,” said 14-year-old Marcello Santomenna.
About the Fitzgerald Dinner
The annual Fitzgerald award dinner recognizes public figures who help advance our mission of improving gun laws in Maine. Past honorees include Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, US Senator Susan Collins, Sherriff and Sen. Mark Dion, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Groban.
The award is named for the late Buzz Fitzgerald, who cofounded the Maine Gun Safety Coalition with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and attorney William Harwood following the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999. The Fitzgerald dinner supports our legislative initiatives, education programs, and the Free Trigger Locks program.
Join Maine Gun Safety Coalition for food, drinks, and fun at our Bangor Fall Mixer!
Thank you to our Host Committee!
Margaret & Chris Campbell * Allan & Linda Currie * David & Susan Edson * Maxine & Eddie Harrow * Bill Harwood * Chuck Hewett * Paige Holmes * Clare Payne * Tim & Danielle Pease * Susan Riley * Michael Saxl * Camilla & Tim Shannon * Warren & Evelyn Silver * Sophie Spurr
More info & RSVP here!
Preventing Gun Violence will be the topic of a free public forum, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., on Thursday, October 12, at First Congregational Church, 55 Elm St., in Camden.
The church’s Faith and Public Issues Task Force is sponsoring the event. The two speakers scheduled are Senator Dave Miramant, who represents Maine District 12, and Nick Wilson, Executive Director of the Maine gun Safety Coalition. Roy Hitchings will be the moderator for the forum, which will be in the Pilgrim Room, a meeting space entered from the church parking lot. More info here.
Maine Gun Safety Coalition is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting a lunch with Avery Gardiner, the new co-President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence!
Learn about Brady's recent legal successes, including holding gun manufacturers and sellers accountable in the courts and protecting the right for doctors to discuss safe gun storage with patients. Ms. Gardiner will also address topics such as the Supreme Court, expanding Brady background checks, and changing culture. Bring your questions for a lively discussion about the past, present, and future of Second Amendment litigation.