On March 14th a ceremony dedicated to the victims of the Parkland school shooting was held at Elizabethtown Area High School. The event was organized by a group of Elizabethtown Students and was held in Daubert Gymnasium. Between 200 and 300 High School and Middle School students attended the ceremony.
The event, which celebrated the lives of the victims of the shooting and ended with students signing a banner which will be sent to the survivors of the shooting, lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims. Students who were involved in planning the event included Katie Anderton (12), Erin Kraskewicz (12), Claire Thomas (9), Kristen McCord (11), Maddie Dean (8), Marissa Rafferty (11), Sydney Sloat (10), and Kere Eze (7). While the ceremony coincided with student walkouts across the country, it was intended to be apolitical. In her opening remarks, Kraskewicz said, “Today is not for political debate. Today is a time to reflect upon the recent events and to remember those who have passed away because of this violence in schools.” Divisive topics such as gun control and arming teachers were not discussed at the ceremony. A public forum with school officials and local legislators to discuss the topic of school safety is being organized by the ceremony planning committee. As of publication, there is no date set for the public forum. According to Katie Anderton, “The event was meant to promote unity. I think it is important as a school that we have something in common. There’s a lot of different views and opinions on this issue. This was more about trying to honor the victims and trying to start a conversation on school safety.” A previous walkout was held on February 21. According to Katie Anderton the initial walkout was “poorly organized” and motivated students to organize a more structured event. After the February 21 walkout the Elizabethtown Area School District released a statement outlining its safety guidelines and its policy regarding student protest. The district stated, “Given the magnitude of the student-led initiative nationwide to elevate the importance to legislators of addressing SCHOOL SAFETY concerns, if our students choose to "walk out" to advocate for SAFER SCHOOLS, we support them and will ensure it is done safely and respectfully as part of a learning process.”