ROCORI Students Honor Fallen Classmates During National Walkout
SARTELL/COLD SPRING -- The meaning behind Wednesday's national demonstration had a different feel for students at ROCORI High School.
Across the country students and staff are honoring the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that happened in Parkland, Florida last month by a coordinated national walkout demonstration in support of gun control.
However, for students at ROCORI, they were not only honoring those who died in Florida but also the two students, Seth Bartell and Aaron Rollins, who were killed in the 2003 school shooting at ROCORI High School.
Seniors Rachel Theisen and McKenna Prill helped lead the demonstration. Both say although neither of them knew Bartell or Rollins personally their legacy is never forgotten at the school.
"Every day we drive past this (the memorial) and we're reminded. Going to school with the teachers who were going to school with them or were teaching at the time, their spirits definitely live on."
Other faculty and staff also spoke during the memorial. Warren Christie, a teacher at ROCORI High School, says students have the power to make a change when it comes to gun violence.
"We need to continue the conversations of how to lessen the gun violence that is taking place in America. The students of ROCORI are making consistent progress toward making our schools safe, they are the rainbows I see every day."
James Herberg is a former ROCORI student. He says the day of the shooting will forever be a day he and the rest of the community will never forget. He says to make a difference students need to come together.
"The strength and resolve in this community is demonstrated again this morning as we have all come together to pay tribute to the two lives that were lost here in 2003 and the 17 lives that were lost in Parkland, Florida."
About 200-300 students at ROCORI High School came out to honor all 19 victims, the 17 from Florida and the two from ROCORI.
Students at Sartell-St. Stephen High School also participated in the movement. About 125 students stood underneath the American Flag in front of the school to pay respects. Monte Belmont say this demonstration was about doing something as a student body to show respect for the students that lost their lives.
"Some people at school thought this was about gun violence, and in some part it is this is a big issue. But it was also about honoring the victims that lost their lives. There was no reason for them to die, but some guy had a gun and worse came to worse."
Sartell Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert released a statement regarding the students walking out of school...
"While I applaud our students for using their First Amendment rights, I am also required to follow school policy and provide a normal school "consequence" for missing class. Depending on the individual student's history of missing classes, this discipline could be very minor or significant. Students had a choice and they knew the consequences."