Gideon Weiner, 13, is an eighth-grade student in New York at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School’s Middle School in Windsor Terrace. He and students around the country are planning to walk out of class from 10 to 10:17 a.m. Wednesday to protest gun violence and urge lawmakers to pass gun-control measures. The 17-minute protest is meant to mark the lives of the 17 people killed Feb. 14 by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Gideon’s school asked students who had decided to participate in the walkout to write an essay explaining their thought process. This is his. It was first published on Daily Kos by his grandfather, educator Alan Singer, the director of secondary education social studies programs at Hofstra University and a professor of teaching, learning and technology. Singer gave me permission to publish it, with the consent of Gideon’s parents.
By Gideon Weiner
I woke up on the morning after the shooting, and I went into the kitchen half asleep. My mom greeted me and said good morning. I was sitting in a tall wooden chair by the kitchen table staring at wall for about five minutes when my mom made a sound that I knew meant she was shocked. She looked up at me and said, “I don’t really want to show you this.”
I looked over her shoulder and on her phone a loop of the Snapchat video of the shooter shooting inside the school flashed over and over again. I walked away saying nothing. I knew then I felt disturbed. I thought about that video for the rest of the day, until my friend came over to my house to hang out. As he was playing “Fortnite,” I was on my phone checking my Instagram feed and passed a compilation of videos based on the shooting. I watched it. I knew I shouldn’t, but I did. I showed it to him. He looked up at me as if I just smashed the TV with a bat. “That’s the shooting,” I told him.
I couldn’t go to sleep that night.
A few days later, my grandfather came to my apartment. I looked at his sweatshirt, and it had the Eagles of Stoneman Douglas written all over it. I realized all of a sudden that it was from the school, the school where the tragedy happened. I asked him how he got it, and he told me that he ordered it online. I asked him if I could bring it to school, and he said yes.
The next few days went by with the events in Florida all in my head. This week I brought the sweatshirt to school, and I showed it to my friends and teachers. Most of them liked the idea, but I was interested in why some people didn’t really feel comfortable with it. I was trying to protest in a silent way. I understood that it brought back a tragic time.
I didn’t wear the sweatshirt for the rest of the day. I promised myself that I would only wear it when we walked out. I want to protest, but I have to think about others’ feelings.
That’s why we have this walkout: to think about how others feel around us and how we want to approach this matter. That is why I will walk out of school at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes on the 14th of March.