The national debate about gun policy continues to rage on in the aftermath of the high profile mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last month. On Wednesday, students around the country participated in a “National Walkout Day,” intending to stay out of their classrooms for 17 minutes not just as a memorial to the 17 killed in Parkland but also as a protest in favor of common sense gun control.
Some schools were more open to the protests than others. One in New York, Rocky Point High School, suspended students who chose to participate in the protests, although the threat of suspension didn’t keep about thirty students from participating Wednesday, anyway.
That evening, there was a PTA meeting at the school covering issues related to the protests, and at one point, the question of whether or not there should be armed guards at schools came up. Having armed guards is a step away from arming the actual teachers, but it’s still a questionable strategy in the minds of many, including Rocky Point High School senior Jade Pinkenburg, who voiced her concerns with the proposal at that PTA meeting.
After she spoke, a parent, who has no apparent immediate public identification, stood up to offer his thoughts on the matter — and in the course of his remarks, he pulled a knife on Pinkenburg. The man — who, again, remains without a widely circulated public identification at this time — evidently thought that pulling a knife on a 17-year-old was a good and levelheaded way to get his point across about the supposed need for armed guards in schools.
After calling Pinkenburg back to the front of the crowd assembled for the PTA meeting, the man commented as follows to her:
‘I’m considerably larger than you, OK? If something happened, if I decided to attack you, it would take the cops three to five minutes to come here — probably 10 if the traffic’s bad.’
He then pulled out a pocket knife of some sort, which he waved, closed, in front of Pinkenburg, menacingly commenting, “What are you gonna do now? What are you gonna do now?”
Check out the video below. The man was eventually escorted off the premises after a minute or two more of him belligerently trying to make those in attendance agree with him.
The video was initially shared by Rocky Point High School student Jo Herman, who wrote:
‘I protested peacefully this morning and got suspended. A man threatened a kid with a knife at a PTA meeting and got gently escorted from the school. Show me the logic.’
I protested peacefully this morning and got suspended. A man threatened a kid with a knife at a PTA meeting and got gently escorted from the school. Show me the logic. pic.twitter.com/dCzcn5DARG
— jo (@jo_herman16) March 14, 2018
Rocky Point Superintendent Michael Ring’s statement on the matter reads, in part:
‘While the district firmly acknowledges that the demonstration was ill-conceived and inappropriate for the venue, we believe that the act was not intended to compromise the safety of those in attendance. District personnel stopped the demonstration and members of our school security team removed the individual from the meeting.’
The students who preferred being suspended over staying silent on gun violence early Wednesday at Rocky Point High School are hardly alone. About 1,100 students at two high schools in the Chicago area alone chose detention over staying silent and not participating in the Wednesday walkout.
The Trump administration has responded to the pressure placed on it following the Parkland shooting with a plan that directs a boost in support for — you guessed it — arming teachers.
That proposal comes alongside the creation of a commission headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for examining ongoing school safety issues in the United States.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video