About a quarter of the student body of Cape High marched out of school March 14 for a 17-minute remembrance of the 17 people killed a month ago in a Florida high school shooting.
Six police cars and about 12 officers blocked traffic around the football stadium, and media was kept more than 50 yards away, behind the football stadium fence. Under tight security, students filed into the visitor-side bleachers. Six students led the group, each holding a letter to spell out “Enough,” moving the signs for attention. #Enough is a hashtag used by the Women's March Youth Empower group that organized more than 3,000 walkouts at the same time and day.
Although the district said a student spoke during the event, students did not appear to listen, and no one in the designated viewing area could hear it. A statement from senior Jade Shomper was released by the district after the walkout remembering the 17 victims who died and taking a stand for school safety.
“We want to see our generation receiving an education without fear, and for future generations to as well,” the statement read. “We are showing that we want change, that we want school safety to be made a priority. No child should be afraid to go to school. Not today, not tomorrow, never again. Enough is enough.”
After filing into the stadium, students talked among themselves, and some ran up the bleachers while others huddled to keep warm in the cold wind. Seventeen minutes later, one student yelled “Yeah,” and the group quickly filed back into the school. About 10 women stood in the designated viewing area chanting “Enough” and holding signs in support of the students.
“We're here to support the children,” said Coleen Collins, a Rehoboth Beach resident.
Rehoboth Beach resident Ginny Stominski said she was also at the event to support students. She said she wasn't surprised by the tight security, and she had figured there would be a small group of community supporters.
“I expect a big crowd to show up March 24,” she said, referring to the March for Our Lives events planned locally in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach and elsewhere across the country.
After at first saying the press would be allowed to speak with school-designated students after the walkout, the district later decided against it.
“We gave you a statement, and that's it,” said Superintendent Robert Fulton as he left Cape High following the walkout.
Also leaving about the same time was Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, who said he had no opinion on the tight security at the school. “I'm just here to support the kids,” he said. Schwartzkopf recently introduced a bill that would increase the age for all gun purchases to 21.
A student videotaping the event for the school also had to stand in the designated media area, far from student participants.
Sophomore Carson Jeney said he heard a group of seniors had organized the walkout to send a joint message in support of school safety and ending gun violence. “It started out as a protest but transitioned to a memorial,” he said.
Across the state, Delaware public and private school students participated in the walkout. Pictures and video of students were posted on Twitter at #dewalkouts. Press were allowed to photograph, film and speak to students at dozens of schools including Seaford High School, Middletown High School and even Caesar Rodney High School, which had been criticized for not supporting the walkout.