March 22, 2018
By Ed Byrne The Brillion News
The call for students to walk out of schools for 17 minutes on March 14, to make a statement against mass shooting incidents at American schools, was answered in our area by respectful vigils and thoughtful reflections on the issue.
There were memorial events at Brillion, Hilbert and Wrightstown high schools, but not at Reedsville.
The events were not excuses to skip classes, nor shows for the news media.
At Brillion, Principal Pete Kittel met outside the east parking lot entrance to the school with a group of a dozen students.
“We just followed our district policy, which said that [students] had to have a note from their parents if they wanted to do anything like that,” Kittel said.
The vigil itself was student-driven.
“They organized everything, they ran everything that happened,” Kittel said. “They read the names of the people who passed away in the shooting in Florida … and they set up some minutes of silence.”
Kittel said his role was just as a supervisor and resource present if the students had questions.
Kittel said the students are concerned that things change too slowly in this country, and think things should happen immediately. He told them that changes take time.
“But I told them as they walked back into the school ‘The one thing you can change is how you treat other people in your school. How do you treat people who are lonely?’ I used the example of a pebble makes a ripple, a ripple makes a wave, a wave makes a tsunami,” Kittel said. “That’s the way you can have an impact immediately. You might not see it globally as you’d like, but it has to start somewhere … It was actually pretty positive, but their focus was on honoring the people who passed away.”
Kittel said school officials talk about school safety a lot, and regular reviews are always needed.
“But the relationship piece is such a huge part of all of this – trying to help those kids who need a little help or are a little lonely,” he said. “How we treat each other is really important.”
Please see the complete story with additional updates on Hilbert and Wrightstown in the March 22, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.