Springfield School Rattled By Past Violence Sees Little Turnout For Walk-Out Event

Apr 20, 2018

Student walk-outs were held today at South Eugene High, Sheldon High, and the University of Oregon to protest gun violence and other issues. It was all part of a nationwide "Walk-Out" event.  But Springfield saw a modest turnout at a high school marred by a shooting incident two decades ago. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Thurston High School's Thurston Fence, as it appeared today at 10am. No students visibly emerged from the THS campus as part of today's national walk-out event.
Credit Brian Bull / Flickr.com

It’s unknown if any students at Thurston High walked out at the appointed time of 10-am. Media were kept off school grounds, and a staff person at the school's main office says she was unaware of any observances.

At the Thurston Fence were two retired teachers, Nancy Callahan and Michael Landes.

Retired educators Michael Landes (left) and Nancy Callahan (right), at a marker memorializing Ben Walker and Mikael Nickolauson, who died after a school shooting in May 1998.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“Surprises me and saddens me," says Callahan, holding an orange sign that says STAND WITH STUDENTS.

"I know that they’re under a lot of pressure and rules, and I wish they could keep up the energy that this whole March for Our Lives thing began.

"I’m here to support them, if they come out I’ll give them a thumbs up.”

“Stand with students, stand against gun violence," added Landes.  "Hopefully young people and old people like myself will stand together.”

The Thurston Fence commemorates the victims of Kip Kinkel, who opened fire in the school cafeteria nearly 20 years ago. Two students were killed, and two dozen more were wounded. Kinkel’s parents were killed the night before.

One student reached via Twitter said there were no walk-outs at THS.  "It didn't gain enough traction," he added. 

THS did participate in a March 14th "March for Our Lives" event, but it was contained within school grounds.  KEZI-TV reported then that there was confusion as to whether students were allowed to leave a space within the main campus.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.