Students across the country participated in the nationwide school walkout on Wednesday to protest school violence and shootings.

Dozens of Roseburg High School students left their classrooms at 10 a.m. and stood in an outdoor courtyard for 17 minutes, a tribute to the 17 students who were killed in a school shooting one month ago in Parkland, Florida.

The students were advised by administrators, who were standing at the gates, to stay on campus during the protest, but six students walked out to Harvard Avenue in front of the school.

There they stood in a circle, held hands, bowed their heads, closed their eyes and stood quietly for several minutes.

“It’s not a protest if we listen to what they want us to do,” senior Atrayu Yamashita said. “It’s a walkout. We walked out.”

Aliyah Abushanab, a junior, added, “We shouldn’t get in trouble for practicing our first amendment right. ... Stand up for what you believe in and spread positivity.”

What they believe in is stricter gun laws. Several of the students said they own guns, but they want stricter laws when it comes to assault weapons.

“We want to know how many of our peers have to die before they take us seriously,” Yamashita said, referring to lawmakers.

Emily Jones added that society has turned a blind eye to violence of any kind.

Several adults also came out to support the students, including Kim Wilbur and Phyllis Finnay.

“I’d be decimated if something happened to my grandchildren,” Finnay said. “But I’m here supporting all children. It’d be lovely if the NRA wouldn’t contribute to Congress.”

Wilbur, a retired school counselor, said she was appalled that not more people showed up to protest in a community where nine people died as a result of a mass shooting.

Superintendent Gerry Washburn said students have a right to express their opinion, so long as their actions are peaceful, safe, and don’t interfere with the education of others.

“In my perfect world, kids would figure some other way to have their views known,” he said.

It is unclear how many students participated in walkouts at other schools in Douglas County. Students at Umpqua Community College, where a gunman killed nine people in 2015, didn’t hold a walkout. Instead, the student government set up a table with a sign that read “We stand in unity to end violence in our schools #BeTheOne” and offered orange wrist bands that said “I am the one,” and “Be the one.”

Roseburg Public Schools released a statement Tuesday saying it was made aware of the possibility of student-led walkouts, vigils and protests regarding gun violence and school safety.

“As a District, we cannot encourage nor discourage students from participating. Students have the right to freedom of speech and expression while at school, so long as that speech or expression does not substantially disrupt the education process,” the statement signed by Washburn read. “Students will not be disciplined for their participation as long as they remain safe, respectful, and responsible, and act in a manner that is not disruptive to the school environment.”

However, principal Jill Weber said Tuesday that the media would not be allowed on campus to cover the event.

“We are not going to allow media on campus during the school day on the 14th. If you want to speak with students off campus at a later time, you may do that,” she said in an email.

Washburn explained the campus would be closed during instructional time, and that the school district does not have a policy regarding interviewing or recording student actions on campus other than school-sponsored activities, and the walkout is not a school-sponsored activity.

“Allowing the press to report on (the walkout) would give the impression that it is a school-sponsored activity so I can’t do that,” Washburn said. “The intent is not to infringe on the freedom of the press. We’ve never stopped you from being on campus for any school-sponsored activity and we never would, it’s just ... my interpretation, and everyone else’s interpretation, is this is not a school-sponsored activity, therefore, we can’t provide access.”

Roseburg Public Schools encourages students who do not feel safe to reach out to Safe Oregon to talk about bullying, violence, drugs or threats of violence made against the school or a student.

Sports reporter Sanne Godfrey can be reached at 541-957-4203 or via email at Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey

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Sanne Godfrey is the education reporter for The News-Review.

(13) comments


"I called my Congressman, and he said, quote: I'd like to help you, kids, but you're too young to vote."


You expect people to believe that bowl of mush EVEN if he actually answered your call. Shoot a little higher, pal!!


Department of Education and the Secret Service studied 37 incidents of “targeted school-based violence” between 1974 an 2000 and found that 95% of shooters were current students at the school. A 2014 FBI study of 160 “active shooter” incidents from 2000 through 2013, found 66.9 percent of the incidents had ended before police even arrived at the scene and could engage the shooter. When they were able to engage a shooter, a law enforcement officer was killed or injured nearly half of the time, in 21 out of 45 incidents. Arming teachers is problematic. There will never be enough armed teachers. Every teacher will feel that he/she has a potential bull's eye on their back. The first time a teacher kills a bad guy he/she will be a HERO and the program to arm teachers a success. The first time a teacher kills a good guy it will be a HORROR. Access point control, metal detectors, fences are subordinate to campus aesthetics and student/staff inconvenience. Rather than bearing the cost of making schools safe, they engage in histrionic protestations against gun violence and the NRA. Apparently our educational institutions find the cost of the dead to be preferable to the cost of security.


Very good and well thought out comment!


Parkland, Florida home of the 17 students killed at Stoneman High School is a Jewish controlled city. It has 26,000 inhabitants and 30 synagogues. Nationwide protests are the result of the massacre of its students, but when 26 Christians were slaughtered in their church recently in Sutherland Springs, Texas: nothing.


Saw these door lockdown devices in the news some time ago that are used in a school back in the midwest. They are $59 each and can be used within seconds. Every classroom in Douglas County should have one to help keep our kids safe. Their website is
Until the laws are changed regarding the rights of gun owners, specifically concerning potentially mentally ill people having the ability to own guns until they hurt themselves or someone else, even when family notifies health providers and law enforcement of known issues, nothing will change. Our country has put rights to private freedoms above the safety of our children and our families, and that is wrong. Why is it is so hard to get someone with mental health issues into treatment before they hurt somebody, and to take their guns away, why is their right to have a gun more important than all of us. Their rights should not be more important than our children. They have the right to not take medication. They shouldn't have the right to own guns if family has reported threats. Gun laws are flawed & mental health laws are flawed, and the mental health support system in our country has really fallen apart. There will never be enough safe houses for the families who run to escape the untreated mentally ill predators in the USA. The jails are full of people with untreated mental health issues, and the drug users. Decriminalizing meth sure didn't fix the problem. Anybody with any drug conviction ought to never be allowed to own guns again either.


nr77 thanks for the info on the door lockdown devices. Hope the school district is making note of all the ideas offered to heighten safety,


A walk out is a protest. NPR headlines read "Across The Country, Students Walk Out To Protest Gun Violence". A walk out Just like a sit-in is a protest. Marching in the streets and screaming is not what constitutes a protest.

st paddy

they just wanted a chance to get out of school for awhile


So what changes are coming to the schools to improve safety?

Willie Stroker

Maybe they will buy some decoy security cars or some police alarms the kids can push to call police. Which UCC has but they haven't fully wired them in in the 7 months they've been there. That's all that UCC did with the millions they got after Oct. 1st. UCC only has one person on campus who is trained in mediation. UCC did have a sheriff appointed to the school but once the news crews left UCC let him go. The UCC shooter purchased his guns legally and had a background check done which further shows that mental illness is the issue. It needs to be listed on a background check.

Scott Mendelson

First of all, I think you should either use your real name or come up with a moniker that isn't suggestive of masturbation. People might take you more seriously. Second, mental illness is only one part of the problem. Since the State of Oregon allows policemen and doctors to intervene only in cases of imminent risk in a mentally ill person, there is likely that nothing could have been about the UCC shooter 2 years ago. Finally, if the shooter had not had an AR-15 with high capacity magazines, there would not have been as many deaths. Your right to buy any gun you want any time, and anywhere is not as important as the lives of my children.

Willie Stroker

I don’t use my real name on here because I don’t want anyone to know that I’m a Psychiatry Specialist!

Actually, Oregon law allows guns to be confiscated if a person is an imminent threat to themselves or others. During a divorce one spouse could say that the other owns guns and therefore they are scared. That’s enough for the spouse who owns the guns to be investigated and have those guns taken away. Senate Bill 719, you should check It out, it’s a good read.

Fifty-two of the 61 agencies for which the FBI keeps relevant data have reported no mental health records to the NICS system! Because 85% of all federal agencies don’t report mental health issues to the NICS system, 91% of all background checks are approved instantly! Of all gun purchases made only 0.5% were denied because of mental illness! Most states don’t have laws requiring agencies to report to the NICS system!

This part of your response shows just how misinformed you are Scott! The shooter never used the AR-15. If you had done your research, you would’ve known this! He had 5 handguns (which shoot just as fast as an AR-15 I might add) and a Del-Ton Carbine Rifle. You say he had a high-capacity magazine like he had some double-drum magazine that holds 100 rounds. High-Capacity is any magazine which holds more rounds then the standard number provided by the designer. Most magazines are 20-30 rounds. That means he didn’t have a “high-capacity” magazine, he just had a normal size magazine!

Less than 1% of all gun related deaths are caused by a rifle. You are more likely to be struck by lightning then you are to be killed by an AR-15! The AR-15 isn’t some scary military looking gun. It was originally developed for home owners. The military saw its capabilities and decided to create a new gun based off the AR-15. The gun the military uses is the M4 which is full-auto and illegal for civilians to own! A semi-automatic firearm is any firearm that can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger. AR-15’s and Glock 19’s are both semi-automatic. Handguns and AR-15’s shoot just as fast and there are some handguns that use the same caliber bullet as an AR-15 if not bigger! If someone breaks into your house in the woods to rob you, rape your wife and kill your children and you want to use a Nerf gun and a can of mace to defend your home, then be my guest. But I will protect my family by any means necessary!

Yours Truly,

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