While thousands of students in the U.S. walked out of schools this week in honor of those killed in the shooting at Parkland, Florida, another school in Virginia used the walkout for a memorial and prayer time.
Greenbrier Christian Academy, a school in Chesapeake, Virginia, decided to honor the victims and pray for the families, the shooter and all schools in the U.S.
"We just wanted to give our students a way to honor the victims and be a part of the national discussion," Danielle Gullickson, the school's community director, told CBN News.
The school built a memorial of 17 empty chairs, each with a photo and name, a white carnation and a white ribbon.
While the students did walk out of the classrooms, they filed to different parts of campus for 17 minutes of prayer.
"I think that prayer is an amazing tool; I think that prayer is part of the heart, and I think that there's a time to mourn and to take time out of your day to respect the families," Jessica Ferebee, a senior, told CBN News. "But I also believe that faith without works is dead... there also needs to be something done to put the prayers into action."
Across the country, students walked out to demand stricter gun laws. It was a 17-minute walkout, one minute for each of the 17 killed. At one school in Los Angeles, students lay down on a football field to spell out “Enough.” However, students at the Virginia school said the walkout didn’t have to be about politics.
"They don't want to be used for a political agenda but to do something to honor the people who were involved and suffered from this tragedy," Gullickson said.
Said Ferebee: "I think that it's very important to treat people with kindness; I think that a lot of things like this could be avoided," she continued. "Seeing those students was devastating; I saw their personalities, their smiles in the pictures, and it made it so much more real than 17 names on a piece of paper."
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/shironosov
Publication date: March 15, 2018
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.