Students at Riverside High School Walk Out for Shooting Victims

TAYLOR, Pa. -- Students across our region participated in walkouts at their schools. Hundreds walked out a high school in Lackawanna County. The teachers and administrators at Riverside High School gave the students their support.

The walkout protest at Riverside Junior/Senior High School was planned by a few of the school's seniors. They were surprised to hear that their principal also wanted to participate.

A two-hour delay meant Riverside High School Students walked out the front doors only minutes after school started. At 10 a.m., in solidarity with students across the country, they stood in silence. Then, they released balloons in memory of the victims of last month's school shooting in Florida.

Skycam 16 captured them circling the courtyard of the school in Taylor for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim in Florida.

The walkout was a protest organized by seniors Christina Smith and Mackenzie Mickavicz and supported by their principal.

"They realize their right to exercise their First Amendment right, for a positive cause, and I think this is something all of these students who participated are going to take with them years from now," said Riverside High School Principal Joe Moceyunas.

"Mr. Mo actually approached us and said teachers had been telling him, 'Christina and Mackenzie are organizing this.' And then he was like, 'I want to be involved. This is great.' And we just thought that was a great idea because if unfortunately, someone violent did come into the school, they're coming for the staff, the teachers, the students, everybody, so we thought it would be great to have him involved and everybody as a community," said senior Christina Smith.

After the walk, the students moved inside to express their desire for increased school safety and changes in gun control laws.

Then, every student who participated in the protest signed a banner they plan to send to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The protest at Riverside wasn't met with much resistance, even from mom and dad.

The Arcaro family came to support their 16-year-old daughter who participated in the walkout. This, they say, may be the most valuable lesson of the day.

"We want them to have a voice, and here they are the next group of voters. And so, they're voicing their opinion. They want them to grow up, and this is part of growing up these days," said Frank Arcaro.

Teachers at Riverside say several hundred students participated in the walkout though they were not required. Before they went back to class, the students heard from a speaker who talked to them about the importance of mental health.

18 comments

  • Rusty Knyffe

    If children across the country want an end to school violence, they need to start with themselves, first. They need to shut down ALL social media accounts because social media is the crucible for bullying and malignant narcissism. I would be genuinely impressed if these students shut down all social media profiles. THAT would be actually doing something positive that would not impede their educations.

  • Rusty Knyffe

    This form of protest has no validity other than to disrupt the day and teach the students that rules do not apply to them. They’re serving an agenda, not a cause, and they are not mature enough or experienced enough to recognize this. Now, they’re all going to think that they’re even more special than they perceived themselves to be before this.

    Today, everyone gets a trophy. Everyone skips class for a “good” cause. Everyone’s free of consequences, especially if they have a handy excuse. No values. No ethics. Good work, moms, dads, guardians, and education system! An excellent crop of drones.

    • rehcaet67

      I am sure you would think differently if your child was one of the 17 children killed (or the hundreds of others killed in school shootings in years past). You would be applauding these kids and their efforts then. Think before you speak. These kids were taking a stand to try to do something about school violence and because they want it to end. I suppose you would rather them just be at home playing video games? For once, they are doing something positive and all people can do it is complain.

      • Rusty Knyffe

        I have lost family and friends to murder, suicide, and various other untimely ends. How dare you presume to know my experiences, you arrogant, pompous narcissistic twit! I have learned how to separate my FEELINGS from FACTS. Facts don’t have an agenda. Feelings do. I may not LIKE the facts, but I have learned that I cannot negotiate “better” facts that will encase my feelings.

        What these children did was NOT “positive” at all. Don’t you realize that they’re being USED as pawns to fulfill an agenda? Or, are you that stuck in your Facebook world that you aren’t able to tell truth from fantasy?

      • Adalagarzi Rhay

        Hey, Rehcaet… Ever heard “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”? These kids don’t know what they’re protesting, and they’re not thinking far ahead enough to figure out how it’s going to happen or how it’s going to be enforced.

        Have you heard the way these kids talk? How about the signs they’re holding? These kids are being instructed on what to say and do. They’re being puppeted as political tools. I can guarantee you that if kids wanted to protest the lives that Abortions take, they’d face harsh punishment.

    • rehcaet67

      Rusty Knife: I do not even have a Facebook account. How you dare you assume that I do, you arrogant, pompous narcissistic twit!

    • My Foot

      Laws have changed (Florida) and SLOWLY mindsets are changing. Make a difference, shout from the rooftops !!!! Go Students !!!!!

      • Rusty Knyffe

        And, Foot Lettuce, what is the ultimate goal, here? Is there an expected outcome? Do you realize that only criminals will have weapons if things go the way that these children are demanding (via liberal agenda)? And, you’re okay with that? Once the 2nd Amendment falls, your Constitution is going to disintegrate. You HAVE to be a kid or millennial to not recognize the ramifications of children running the show. Khmer Rouge. Contemplate that before you type another remark.

    • rehcaet67

      First amendment rights. And teachers and administration including the superintendent approved of this and participated in it. They know how important it is to remember the lives lost in senseless school shootings. They know that changes need to be made in schools. Kudos to all of them!

    • rehcaet67

      I bet all you do is complain all day. Nothing productive was in your post. These students learned more today from this than you can imagine. They learned how to stand up for something they believe in, organize an event, unite together with their classmates for a good cause, realize that they CAN make a difference and they DO have voices that can hopefully initiate change in the world.

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