Principal Kimberly Boldon remembers distinctly that Tuesday on April 20, 1999. It was her second year of teaching, a career she had looked forward to her entire life. The principal of her school pulled her and all the other teachers into a staff meeting in the auditorium. Boldon will never forget how the principal was talking about the tragic events at Columbine and recalled thinking that she couldn’t believe this was happening to a school. “I couldn’t even fathom that possibility,” Boldon said.
Nineteen years later, Boldon is in the role of principal, now having to explain how yet another tragic shooting had taken place in Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day.
Boldon says she felt added pressure after the events as she tries to wrap her head around what happened. On a professional level, she said her job is to make sure students and staff have a safe and secure environment. On a personal level, she states that she is trying to understand all of the events. “You go through that phase of ‘oh my goodness why is this happening’ and then you move very quickly into the upgrades we need to make.” Boldon said.
Regarding the past student protests and walkouts, Boldon claims she hasn’t considerably changed her stance. As an educator, Boldon says she wants to see students be able to understand that they have a voice that needs to be heard. Sophomore Sabrina Shah agrees saying that she is in favor of the walkouts to D.C. “Walking to the Capitol would be a bigger representation because Congress is in session that day. All of Congress would see all the people outside the Capitol,” Shah said.
On the other hand, Boldon also stated that protests fall into the category of civil disobedience and civil disobedience “comes with a price.”
Last Friday, Boldon met with the school through a town hall in the auditorium, where students and staff members were able to discuss how to take action. A group of students along with Boldon invited everyone to participate in an in-school walkout on the track. “I think Ms. Boldon has a great idea of making a school held walkout but we should be able to go to the capital and be excused. It’s our rights that we are trying to fight for,” sophomore Casey Schuler said.
Later during lunch, a lockdown drill was practiced so students know where to go during a transition period. “If we didn’t know about the drill ahead of time it would’ve been better, but other than that I think it was good, “sophomore Miranda Wright said.
Boldon said if students are compelled to be somewhere else because of the national events that are happening, it would still be an unexcused absence for that day. “We want to provide students an opportunity to learn through this experience and to have an activist kind of spirit, but we also have to be practical about what our role is as the adults and being in charge of making sure that you are safe,” Boldon said.