Earlier this week thousands of high school students walked out of class, calling for safer schools and stronger gun control legislation. One Utah student joined the smaller movement of students across the nation to stay inside their schools.
“I’m proud of my decision and I know that some of the kids that walked out of that school,” said Elizabeth Busdicker, a ninth grader at South Davis Jr. High in Bountiful. “They didn’t know what was going on, they didn’t know what the purpose was for it.”
In the days leading up to the walkout, Elizabeth’s friends and other students were talking about the event in school and on social media. It gave her time to think about what she wanted to do on that day. When the clock struck 10 a.m. on the day of the walkout, everyone left the school, but Elizabeth stayed. It was not an easy decision.
“Wow, I’m the only one,” Elizabeth said. “I was going back and forth and I was like, ‘You know what, no I’m just going to stay. I’m going to do what I believe is right.'”
Elizabeth recognizes the growing problem of school violence in America and here in Utah, so the ninth grader didn’t just sit in her chair that day.
“I wrote 17 thank you notes to 17 different people,” Elizabeth said. “I reached out to people who I thought needed kindness and love in their lives that day.”
Elizabeth said the root of violence in schools is more than just guns.
“We just need to be kinder to people in our daily lives and make them feel welcome into our lives,” Elizabeth said. “Not to bully them or push them away.”
The students who walked out of South Davis Jr. High School that day respected Elizabeth’s decision to stay inside, but she said her peers don’t have to go far to make schools a safer place for everyone.
“Maybe just sitting with someone at lunch that’s alone or just a smile walking through the hall can change someone’s day and can change their life around,” Elizabeth said.
In no way did Elizabeth want to disrespect the victims or the families of the high school shooting in Florida. She said she did her best to honor the victims and their families.
“I could never imagine losing a friend, or a child,” Elizabeth said. “I’ve lost a family member before and that was hard, but losing someone even closer to you, in your school would just be terrible. I just wanted them know to that I honored those lives.”