Stepping up

Students hold peace rally to stop violence both in and out of school

By JANICE PODSADA

Herald Writer

EDMONDS — They danced to the sound of recorded gunshots. Their footsteps were an ironic twist in a serious effort to stop the violence. They danced to show the kids weapons are never an answer.

More than 500 children watched as a troop of 14 young dancers, all dressed in black, from Madrona School in Edmonds stepped to the staccato recording of gunfire.

The dance against violence was just one event that took place during an hourlong peace rally staged Tuesday morning. Students from Alderwood Middle School, Terrace Park and Madrona attended the rally at Edmonds Civic Stadium.

The rally commemorated the fifth annual "Day of National Concern About Young People and Gun Violence," which is sponsored by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), a national group seeking to end violence.

This year and the past two years, the rally was organized by Wendy Ewbanks, teacher and SAVE faculty advisor at Madrona.

The same message was repeated by students in song, dance and words: Violence has no place in this world.

Rejecting violence begins young, and begins in seemingly small ways, said Molly Haas, a senior at Edmonds-Woodway High School who took the podium.

"How often do we sit there in school and watch someone get harassed?" Molly asked the crowd.

"Words can hurt people. Don’t you want to be the person to stand up and take a stand when someone is being picked on? Take a stand and people will respect you for that."

Speaker Bruce Gryniewsky, executive director of the Ceasefire Foundation of Washington, a group dedicated to ending gun violence, told his young audience that a recent study indicated that many school shootings could have been prevented.

"In every single case, students involved in these shootings told another student they were going to do this. In every case that other student didn’t tell anyone else," Gryniewsky said. "I’m asking you to think about this."

In light of the recent violence in the Middle East and an attack on a freshman at Cascade High School in Everett, Madrona student, April Haas, 13, said she has redoubled her efforts to urge other students to join SAVE.

"That kind of thing just makes me more determined," April said.

In 1998, members of Madrona’s SAVE chapter lobbied the Edmonds City Council for permission to stage a peace rally for local elementary, middle and high school students.

They told council members it would be a chance for kids to gather, to ponder the consequences of wielding hate and harassment in and out of school, to think about ways to solve conflicts without bullets, fists or insults.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s peace rally, Whitney Keller, 13, a Madrona student, led students in repeating the SAVE pledge.

"I will never bring a weapon to school. I will never use a weapon to settle a dispute," Whitney said.

Five hundred children repeated the pledge.

"They really took the it seriously," Whitney said. "It made me feel really good."

Nine-year-old Brian Fu, a student at Madrona School was one of the children who made the promise.

"Using a weapon isn’t very good," Brian said afterwards. "You might kill your best friends."

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Lynnwood
Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

People hang up hearts with messages about saving the Clark Park gazebo during a “heart bomb” event hosted by Historic Everett on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Future of historic Clark Park gazebo now in hands of City Council

On June 5, the Everett council is set to decide whether to fund removal of the gazebo. It could be stored elsewhere.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commercial vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.