A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

SRJC community walkout over gun violence

Rachel Edelstein & Kevin Johnson
Students, staff and faculty members gather in solidarity at the Santa Rosa campus on March 14 to protest gun violence.

Santa Rosa Junior College students, faculty and staff participated in a nationwide walkout at 10 a.m. March 14 at Santa Rosa Junior College in memory of the victims of the Parkland school shooting that killed 17 people. For 17 minutes participants voiced their concerns about campus safety and held a moment of silence for the victims.

The walkout was also meant to raise awareness towards imposing stricter gun laws.

“We demand legislative change!” one protester shouted. “You have a right to go to school in peace! You have a right to go home and be alive!” said another.

Liko Puha, Instructional Systems Administrator for the Distance Education Program, read the names of the 17 Parkland victims aloud as onlookers echoed the names back.

The recent national outpouring of student-led action moved Puha, who said it gave him hope for the future. Puha said he participated in the walkout today to show respect for those who lost their lives exactly one month ago in Parkland, Florida.

“I wanted to do something that was more positive and particularly with remembering those people in Parkland,” Puha said.

He also called for stricter guns laws and pointed out that it is harder to get a driver’s license than buy a gun in America.

“We dont let drivers drive a car without making sure that they’re trained and that they know how to use a car,” Puha said.

Many of the legislative changes that students are asking for make sense to him.

“More strict regulations on who can buy guns, not taking our guns away, not taking away our right to bear arms,” Puha said.

Kathy Matthies, an administrative assistant who spoke at the gathering, has been personally affected by gun violence.

I have lost eight people that I personally knew through gun violence. I feel that it would have behooved the college to observe a 17-minute break today,” Matthies said. I was pleased with the turnout. It could have been more. It would have been great if it was the entire campus. But the words were heartfelt.”

Faculty and staff who wanted to participate in the walkout had to fill out a notice of absence (NOA) form. Some supervisors were more lenient. “I just took my break. I told my supervisor I was taking my normal break and that if it went longer it could come from lunch. And he was fine with that,” Matthies said.

Schools across the county participated in the national walkout, including Santa Rosa High, Windsor High, Casa Grande High, Healdsburg High, Sonoma Valley High, and Kenilworth Junior High.


Additional reporting by Rachel Edelstein

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *