July 18, 2024
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SAR Academy Students Participate in Walkout

On Thursday, March 15, SAR Academy students and teachers in grades five through eight participated in a walkout to raise awareness about school safety and gun control, and to remember the lives that were lost in the recent tragedy at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They chose to conduct their walkout on a different day than most schools in order to separate themselves from the anti-Semitic comments made by some of the organizers of the nationwide walkout.

Prior to the walkout, fifth and sixth grade students and teachers engaged in a meaningful dialogue about school safety in the context of current events. The students contributed insightful comments about the issues and the walkout itself. In seventh and eighth grade, advisory groups, consisting of one teacher and about eight students, discussed the meaning of gun control and activism.

After middle school students and teachers silently walked out to the SAR Academy field, Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, principal, explained why they were taking time from classroom learning to participate in this walkout. He expressed hakarat hatov to the security team and police officers who keep the students and faculty safe every day. Then, seventeen students each read the name of one of the victims of the Parkland school shooting. Judah Lopatin (seventh grade) delivered an inspiring Dvar Torah and Hannah Winter (eighth grade) shared her powerful reflections through poetry. Finally, Rabbi Avi Weiss addressed the students, urging them to be activists and to stand up for what they believe in. They again remembered the seventeen victims of the recent tragedy in Florida, and after each name was recited, everyone joined Rav Avi to say, “We mourn with your family.” This was followed by a seventeen second moment of silence.

Through the discussions about gun control and activism, and through the walkout itself, SAR students now have a better understanding and appreciation for the issues at hand, the importance of taking an active role to implement change and compassion for the victims of the Parkland shooting as well as their families.

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