Northmont High School Holds Safety Assembly


Senior Dominic Stratton addresses his peers at the assembly on March 14.

Maddie Harris and Taylor Shively

On Wednesday, March 14, Northmont High School held an assembly in the Thunderdome, prompted by the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. High schools throughout the United States planned protests, walk-outs, or other activities in response to the tragedy. Northmont High School Student Assistant Counselor, Ms. Sheree Coffman, helped students plan the event, to encourage kids to “walk up, not walk out.” 

Coffman said the assembly took about two weeks to plan, and was led by students who had been in attendance at morning School Safety Meetings, where all were welcome. Their goal for the assembly was to spread awareness and let students come together to make a statement about school safety, as opposed to a few people walking out.

It was optional for students to attend. At the assembly, ribbons with the word “#Enough” were passed out. There was a group picture taken with 17 students wearing burgundy and silver to represent those who had lost their lives in Parkland. An activity called “Stand If You” was conducted at the assembly, which allowed students to choose to stand if the statement applied to them, to show they aren’t alone.

Students were encouraged to walk up instead of walking out.

Before the activity, senior Dominic Stratton addressed his fellow students:

“I’d like to ask a simple question, it’s a question you only have to answer to yourself and not to anyone else. It’s a question that I ask myself all the time. Which is “who are you?” And “what is it that defines you as a person?” I can tell you one thing for sure, it’s not your clothes, your shoes, your car or the egotistical portrayal we display with social media and technology. Who you really are, in reality, is where you come from, and how you yourself, your inner self, responds to any given situation or given person. So who are you fundamentally? You have your family, you have background, you have your life story. But most  of all you are human. And the key difference between us and any other species on the planet is, we have Empathy.

Empathy is something we seriously lack in the world we live in today. We are informational beings that crave immediate gratification and satisfaction. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. If you yourself believe you have empathy then you should know, you and all the rest of us have an ego and a soul. If you don’t think you have an ego or a soul then you may have a problem. We all, deep down, know right from wrong. No matter how deep it is.

We’re here today to talk about gun violence and the causes of it in school. Political opinions aside, the real problem that I see all around me every day,  the thing that creates these shooters, these deeply troubled individuals, is no further than a lack of empathy for your fellow students or your fellow peers. We as individuals are lacking the basic responsibility of knowing that what you say and what you do in each and every waking moment has an effect on those around you. And as much as you’d like to think you know everything about another person, as much as you think you have the right to pass judgment on them, you have none. You have no idea where they came from, you don’t know who their parents are or how they were brought up, and you have no right to put yourself above them with some imaginary opinion of power. You just like them, had no choice in what you are or what you look like. We are all born and we all die.

Regardless of your background, it’s no mystery that death is a part of life, and it can be a very real aspect if a troubled person chooses to attack a school. Now my point is not meant to be bleak, as much as it should relate us to one another as people. In some way or another we are all the same. We all have ups and downs and hardships in life. In other words, we’ve all been there in some way or another. So I ask everyone here, what are YOU going to do that PROVES you actually care. If those twitter posts are not just the ramblings of crickets, if you really care about those around you and you want to do something to be a real benefit to this world then you need to be yourself, your true self. And the ripple effect of your positivity will definitely show in the people and events around you.”