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Camas, WA — As their new season begins this Saturday at 2 pm at VEGA, the reigning State Champion Girls Gymnastics team is putting in the hours, the sweat, and strategy to defend their State title.

Since winning State last February, the team has only lost one athlete, Jax Purwins, and they’re pretty excited about new star power — Peyton Cody and Lili Ford — along with several athletes that are new to the sport. While focused and grateful, they also begin this season with a lot of confidence.

“Our team has almost doubled in size,” said Head Coach, Carol Willson. “I think winning State helped draw a lot of new kids, but it’s also a new adjustment. We enter this season with strength, and just hope that everyone can stay healthy.”

Given the team’s size, practices are spread all across the week, and into the weekends, and seldom are the JV and Varsity squads practicing together, but we caught up with the girls during a rare session when the team was all together, in one place, at the same time.

“We won state so that shows them we’re the real deal, and that we’re serious,” said co-captain, Madison Martin. “We have a lot of new freshmen that are really good. Winning Sate was a good moment, it was a real bonding experience for everyone. It makes us more motivated to hold onto it — to keep the title.”

Co-captain, Annika Affleck, agrees.

“Having so many more athletes on the team really helps out,” said Affleck. “We have a lot of experience.”

Co-captain Joy Marsh, who did All-Around last season, said the size of the team is challenging, which is why they split practices into two groups.

“We have to make each practice count, and stay focused on our goals,” said Marsh. “We have a good team, and good coaches with Carol and Trisha. We also have strength in the All-Around.”

The new team size is also a blessing because it gives them more depth.

“We’re up to 40+ kids, and they have to work harder to make a spot,” said Willson. “We are coaching seven days a week, and Sunday afternoons are the only time we get the whole team together, which is essential for team bonding. The girls put in the time, and we’re excited to officially get the season started on December 8!”

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On October 22, the Camas Youth Advisory Council (CYAC) hosted a forum at Camas Theatre for political candidates vying for four separate offices — the third Washington Congressional District, Clark County Council Chair, and two Washington State Legislative Districts (18th, positions 1 and 2).

This article focuses on the responses between Republican State Representative Brandon Vick and challenger Democrat Chris Thobaben, who are running for the LD 18, position 1 seat in the Washington State House of Representatives. Vick is currently in his third term.

At the forum, each answered a series of questions composed by the CYAC students.

The council opened with a topic very real to students, asking the candidates if they believed the McCleary decision over educators’ salaries was a fix.

Vick affirmed that McCleary made sense, calling it a very good piece of legislation. He also said that salaries were funded as ordered, saying they gave a “big pot of money” to each district to distribute as they wished. Thobaben replied that McCleary was designed to be a fix, but that people did not realize its complexities. He emphasized that teachers are professionals and need to be paid as such.

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The next question addressed the levels of transparency in Legislature. Thobaben recalled being on the campaign trail and getting more calls from lobbyists than constituents. He called for complete transparency, saying he wished that everyone could watch as legislation is written to understand the process. Vick discussed looking at Senate Bill 6617, dealing with transparency in government, and how he decided that it was better than the preexisting bill. He also said there needs to be more flexibility in the matter, saying “Open and transparent makes sense to me.”

The third question addressed the second amendment and gun control. Vick was sure that the issue would be one going back and forth for years to come. However, he did not believe in denying one group of people a right. He also asserted that some people still hunt to eat, making guns a necessary tool. Thobaben said that responsible gun owners treat their weapons with respect, and that mass shooters have not been taught how to properly take care of arms. He also advocated for guns being locked up at all times to prevent easy access and avert potential disasters.

Both candidates thanked CYAC for putting together the forum. Thobaben closed with a call for young people to get involved in politics, and Vick ended with a promise to bring big companies and jobs to the area.

By Riley Kankelberg, Camas High School

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Camas, WA — During this past weekend’s Camas Wellness Festival, event organizers held a 90-minute panel called “Your Teen’s Secret Life at School and Outside Your Home” in which they addressed questions about social media addiction, online bullying, effects of technology in the classroom, and when to give a child a smart phone.

Panel members Kimberly Berry, Alan Chan, and Jennifer Ireland answered questions. Berry is the founder of Being UnNormal, a consulting and advocacy group for mental health issues. Chan has worked in Clark County for six years providing services to at-risk youth with chronic and complex mental health needs. Ireland has a Master’s degree in K-12 Special Education, and is a 22-year veteran public school teacher (at Skyridge Middle School).

We report their responses to each question.

Question: Can social media be addictive?

Berry: “Yes, of course, anything can be addictive. We know that teens are spending a lot of time on their phones. Teens that spend five hours or more a day on their smart phones are more prone to be depressed. Ten percent of teens check their phone at night at least ten times per night. Chances are they’re checking it when you don’t realize it.”

Chan: “In my experience, the social media and cell phone usage is a huge conflict in their lives. The phones and social media become a social status among kids.”

Ireland: “Addiction comes with all the time children are spending on these devices. Self-esteem and confidence relies upon what they see on social media. It’s problematic.”

Question: How does social media affect mental health?

Berry: “We see the escalation of bullying being carried into the home. It also leads to isolation.
They start to get anxious about not measuring up to false standards.”

Chan: “I think the concern I have with social media is that it creates a false reality. Often times we only see all the great things. You feel like you’re missing out. It’s the fear of missing out. You feel like you’re different, like you can’t connect, like you’re a bit of an outcast.”

Ireland: “We can’t shelter them completely from it. We make sure we limit how they use social media, and monitor their usage. Parents should be on all the accounts. We have to be with them step by step, and start them with training wheels. Instagram is safer than some of the others. On Snapchat, things disappear. As a parent, look at their posts together. Have conversations with your children about the posts.

“Social media is a photo album of all the good things in life, and doesn’t represent all the reality, like the negatives and struggles. You can’t put it away, it’s everywhere now. Talk to your child about it. It’s for their health.”

Chan: “Kids have become so reliant and dependent on social media to connect with friends that it’s hard to put away.”

Berry: “I encourage parents to look beyond posts, and to look at DM’s and IM’s. Dig into social media accounts. There is often a lot of stuff happening on the back end. The social media impact on young girls is they are comparing themselves, which is creating more eating disorders. Remember that our girls are comparing themselves to the unattainable. As parents, we have control over social media, so take control of that. You are empowered.”

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COME VISIT US IN DOWNTOWN CAMAS!

Question: What is online bullying?

Berry: “People send negative messages to our kids, and it’s coming from other kids. Half of teens have reported they’ve been bullied online. Twenty-five percent of those reports are coming through their cell phones. One in five children get sexual messages.

“Eighty percent of teens use cell phones regularly. The phone is always with you. It’s in your house. Your house is supposed to be a safe place, but now the bear is everywhere. You’re constantly feeling anxious. It’s really problematic because it is destroying our children’s hearts and hope. We need to responsibly reduce access. Ask your kids about whether they’ve been bullied at school.”

Ireland: “If you ask your child the R’s of bullying they will you. It happens in the halls and in the lunchroom, but the online bullying is becoming more prevalent. The kids have gotten really good at doing this in the school setting.”

Question: In general, how has school life changed in the last 10 years?

Ireland: “I feel like I’ve been in school my whole, as a student and teacher (she teaches 6th grade).
It’s changed drastically, and the big shift is the increased anxiety and mental health.
It’s a whole different ball of yarn with increases in standardized testing. As a kid, I don’t remember hearing about my results, and now these standardized tests are stressing kids out. She’s concerned about the pressure. Some kids might need five years to graduate from high school, and they shouldn’t be counted less or as not being successful. The stress of all that goes back into the education system. The teacher success is being tied to those scores. They’ve cut out music, art and recess in the middle schools. They don’t get to move, they don’t get to be outside. All those coupled with social media is causing problems. Lack of food and sleep contribute to their pressures and stresses.

“Too many parents aren’t happy with less than a 3.5 GPA. They get upset when a child gets 96% on a math test. Parents put unrealistic expectations on their kids, and that shows up in the classroom. What can we do to make good enough good enough?”

Secret

Your Teen’s Secret Life Panel spent 90 minutes discussing a variety of mental health issues.

Question: How as parents can we manage the academic stress they’re facing?

Ireland: “Talk to your kids. Talk to them about how to manage their time. Talk about their schedule and make sure they schedule in down time. Exercise and fitness are key. Cultivate friendships that aren’t online friendships. Ask what they’re going to do when they hang out.

“Make sure your child knows they need to make good, positive connections with teachers or counselors. Parents need to reach out to their teachers.”

Chan: “People learn in different ways. Be attuned to barriers and challenges that kids have.”

Berry: “We can’t blame our teachers. We need to approach teachers as allies, and not obstacles.”

Ireland: “Kids need to have chores. It seems so little, but having a job contributes to making a home run more efficiently. Praise them for the work they do. The satisfaction of a job well done is something many kids don’t have today.”

Question: At what age is a smartphone appropriate?

Ireland: “13 or older. It seems to be a middle school milestone. It’s better for their health to wait until 8th or 9th grade. It’s a major distraction at middle school and it’s not healthy for them. Too many 6th graders have cell phones. Sixth graders don’t need smartphones. There are different types of phones you can get. Give them a simpler phone at first and see how they take care of it.”

Berry: “Phones are a status symbol. It’s an intentional projection coming from home. It creates problems in the schools. Find out how do they feel when they’re away from the phone from an extended period of time.”

Teachers in the room agreed that smartphones for kids under 13 isn’t a good idea, and that it leads to more kids leading a secret life that parents aren’t aware of.

To learn more, visit www.CamasWellnessFestival.com

Camas, WA — The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) is honoring Camas High School with the prestigious Scholastic Cup (4A Division) this Thursday, June 7, at 2:30 pm at the CHS main gym.

The students are receiving this award for their athletic, academics and sportsmanship achievements during the 2017-2018 season. Camas took home the 4A Scholastic Cup with WIAA State Championships in Swimming, Gymnastics, and Boys Track and Field. Camas completed the season with nine top-5 finishes in various sports, as well as having nine teams ranked in the top-5 of their respective categories academically.

The honor is the first for the Papermakers, who finished second in the 2016-2017 season. The other Divsion Champions are: Almira Coulee Hartline (1B), Saint George’s (2B), Lynden Christian (1A), Sehome (2A), and Interlake (3A).

The WIAA Cup recognizes performance in the classroom, as well as on the playing field. Schools that finish at the top of their respective classifications in state athletic competition receive points, as do schools that finish at the tops in team academic performance.

Sportsmanship is also a factor, with substantial points deducted for ejections from contests. At the end of the year, the school with the most points in their classification will be awarded the prestigious Scholastic Cup.

To learn more, visit www.wiaa.com

 

CHENEY, WA — Papermakers Wilson Ho and Abigail Jiang, still tired from their whirlwind winning weekend at the Washington State Science Olympiad, took some time to reflect on their team’s second consecutive State victory, and what it took to get there.

”The way the awards were presented at Science Olympiad, we weren’t sure until the very end that we would win,” said Jiang. “We ended up beating Bothell, our number one competitor every year, with a final score of 72 — and doing better than we did last year.”

Camas brought two teams of 15 to State this year, along with several who participated in trial events, totaling 38 competitors.

The Varsity, or Black team, that took first place honors is made up of seven seniors, six juniors, and two sophomores. The Junior Varsity, or Red team, has one senior, six juniors, five sophomores and three Freshmen. The Red team placed fourth overall.

“This is as good as we‘ve ever gotten in our history,” Ho, the team’s captain. “We’ve gotten better over the past few years. And, we’re really proud of the Red team, they even did better than Varsity in some events.”

Personally, Ho competed in four events: Towers, Helicopters, Forensics, and LEAF. Jiang also competed in four events: Chemistry Lab, Materials Science, Astronomy, and Hovercraft.

Science

The entire Camas Science Olympiad team.

They said the competition against arch-rival, Bothell, was as intense as ever. The State tournament switches between Highline College and Eastern Washington University ever other year.

“Two years ago, at this same location, Bothell beat us,” said Jiang. “And, this year, Bothell had more first places. We ended up winning because we were more consistent than Bothell overall. We had a lot of second place finishes, and we were nervous for about 90 minutes at the end watching the scores. We thought at one point we wouldn’t make it. But, overall, as a team we won by 25 points.”

Some Stats:

  • Bothell earned nine first places.
  • Camas Black team earned four first places.
  • Red Team earned three first places.
  • Black team earned 11 second places.

“Bothell was upset,” said Jiang.  “They’ve always been our number one rival. A lot of them were hoping to go to Nationals, which is May 18-19 in Fort Collins, CO at Colorado State University.”

Ho said he’s grateful for Science Olympiad advisor, Matthew Chase.

“We also had a ton of help from assistant coaches,” said Ho. “We had parents that are assistant coaches. My dad has gone to all the tournaments this year.”

All 15 Black Team will attend Nationals, plus alternates.

The Camas team has been getting ready all year long, attending eight tournaments, and seeking out higher competition. They’ve also put in the study tim.

“In some ways, the State tests were easier than some of the larger tournaments they attended throughout the year,” Jiang. “We got lucky in some cases. This is the first time we didn’t have a bomb event — where you score lower than 15th place. Even below 10 for us isn’t acceptable. There are some events you can’t study for as they’re on-the-spot, but we as much practice as possible, and then there’s just luck.”

Jiang gives a lot of credit to the Red team, and specifically to Quan Ho, a junior on that team.

“He did super well,” she said. He’s by far good enough to be on Black team. His events don’t match up so that’s why he’s on Red. He got first place in two events. We only had 7 total first places. We all get along really well and we all help each other.”

Science

With advisors.

Ho said the team is also super competitive.

“We are never happy being second best,” he said. “The thing about Black team is that everyone has to put the same serious effort in order to make it to Nationals. We all study every day. In events like Forensics you have to bring your notes into the event. Part of studying is putting in time to prepare the notes. You really need to understand the notes.”

They also take a lot of practice tests, and continue to work on communication.

“What people don’t always think about is communication,” said Ho. “A lot of events require communication. If you don’t communicate with partners on build events then you’ll have a misunderstanding. You have to learn how to communicate. Learn how each other work as competitors. Some people don’t talk, and just study and that can hurt your team. Plus, my peers drive me to do better. My parents don’t push me to do all this. It’s like I can’t not do it. It’s something I love to do.”

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu

Science

Ending with a victory.

 

Bremerton, WA — Camas students were among the more than 700 presenters at the 61st Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (WSSEF) in Bremerton, on March 23 & 24, 2018. Students presented their projects to judges who volunteer their time to listen, critique, and praise the students for the effort involved in bringing a project to the fair. WSSEF awards more than $1.8 million in scholarships, as well as special awards meeting specific criteria set by a sponsor.

Dorothy Fox Elementary students:

• Hailey Griffith: 1st Place trophy and Margaret I Lugg award for Passion and Knowledge of Science
• Liam Smook: 1st Place trophy and Sight of Flight award with a free pass to the Museum of Flight
• Arvin Shyam: 2nd Place ribbon, Margaret I Lugg Memorial Award for engaging oral presentation, Outstanding Natural Resource Science Award, and Central Valley Garden Club Outstanding Project Award for a total of $60
• Allison Le: 2nd Place ribbon
• Chloe Chase: 3rd Place ribbon
• Julian Castillo: 3rd Place ribbon and the Young Explorer Award of $10

Odyssey Middle School students:

• Aran O’Day: 1st Place trophy and Nomination to Compete in the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS national middle school science and engineering fair in Washington DC in October.
• Lisel Shyam: 1st Place trophy and Nomination to Compete in the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS national middle school science and engineering fair in Washington DC in October.
• Aurora Szulc: 1st Place trophy

Engineering

Students from Odyssey Middle School (OMS) and Dorothy Fox Elementary (DFE) – Back row, left to right: Aran O’Day (OMS), Chloe Chase (DFE), Allison Le (DFE), Lisel Shyam (OMS). Front row, left to right: Hailey Griffith (DFE), Arvin Shyam (DFE), Liam Smook (DFE).

Camas High School STEM Magnet Program students

Thirty-four students competed and all represented Camas High School and their research with pride. Honors were taken by the following students:

Freshmen:

• Alex Gee, Mark Robinson, and Jaden Le: 1st Place in Environmental Engineering
• Owen Baenen and Justine Pentergraft: 1st Place in Energy
• Gareth Starratt, George Walker, and AunyKussad: 2nd Place in Microbiology
• Kate Staddon, Sophia Nelson, and RyleeRuark: 1st Place in Environmental Science
• Ben Saunders and Austin Ye: 1st Place in Mechanical Engineering, $8000 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Launch Scholarship, U.S. Air Force Award for an Outstanding SEF Project, Excellence in Aeronautics Award
• Michael Lee and Andrew Kim: 1st Place in Environmental Science
• Joey Stanley, Wilson Fresh, and Tyler Stanley: 1st Place in Environmental Engineering
• Tyler Gee and Julian McOmie: U.S. Army Award

Sophomores:

• Hannah Tangen, Kathryn Wynn, and Sierra Mellor: 1st Place in Environmental Engineering
• Jacob Mukobi: 2nd Place in Environmental Engineering category.
• Junha Lee: 1st Place in Microbiology category; US Army STEM Award, Wolfram Alpha STEM Award
• Alexis Howard: 2nd Place in Computational Engineering, $8000 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Launch Scholarship

Junior:

• Rahul Ram: 2nd Place in Computational Biology

Seniors:

• DuyVuong: 1st Place in Environmental Engineering
• Sarah Wells-Moran: 2nd Place in Embedded Systems
• Gabe Mukobi: 1st Place in Embedded Systems and American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronauts Scholarship

In addition, all-expense paid invitations to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May, were awarded at the Southwest Washington Regional Science and Engineering Fair to:

• Rahul Ram: 1st Place
• Odessa Thompson, Rose Leveen, and Bailey Segall: 2nd Place

WSSEF is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering, and math across the state of Washington, year-round. Next year’s fair will take place March 29 & 30, 2019. For more information, visit www.wssef.org

Camas, WA — Mandy Manning, the 2018 Washington State Teacher of the Year, spent Monday visiting with Camas High School teachers, administrators, and students as part of her semester-long tour of the state.

Manny, who received the prestigious honor on September 11, 2017, teaches in Spokane at Ferris High School’s Newcomer Center, where she works with immigrant and refugee children.

“It’s humbling, and a lot of pressure, but I always say I’m the same person I was before I was named,” said Manning, at a small lunch meeting of teachers and CHS principal, Liza Sejkora. “Everybody should always know what we think as teachers, we need to be open, and it’s been really cool to have a title that makes it so I can share about my classroom and kids.”

In her job at Ferris, she teaches brand-new immigrant and refugee students in a district that serves 72 language groups.

”It changes all the time,” she said. “I teach Level 1 English language learners. The common language is English. We focus on the basic building blocks of language.”

What does she want teachers to know about working with language learners?

“Welcome them and make sure they feel 100 percent part of the community,” said Manning. “They need to know that they’re interested in who they are. To reach out and invite them into the classrooms. To show them that everyone is excited about having them there. Find ways to make everything relevant to them. Little access points help all people feel connected and integrated into our schools. It’s about opening up and allowing people to access what’s available. We have to be open to all ways of thinking.”

As part of being Washington State Teacher of the Year, she’s been able to work with state legislators, from both parties, to be a voice for education.

During this current semester, she’s been released from her teaching assignment, and travels daily — visiting schools all around Washington.

“I’ve gotten to see a lot of different areas,” Manning said. “I wish all educators could travel to other schools. Even in the most difficult situations there are incredible things happening.”

She spotlighted Jana Dean, a middle school teacher in Olympia at Jefferson Middle School who teaches math and science to gifted and non-gifted kids.

Manning

Mandy Manning with Camas High School teachers and administrators.

“She is working on social and academic discourse,” said Manning. “And, she was teaching them how to really communicate, provide feedback and then have a thoughtful discussion. There was constant communication in the classroom and it was enjoyable watching them have real academic discussions about geology. There was such an elevated discussion in the room. I just went around and listened. They were really focused on the academics.”

Manning also told the CHS educators that it’s important to do exchanges with other schools and learn and value what others are doing. She also encourages cross-content — where math teachers learn about languages, and science teachers learn about art, and so forth.

Her travels have also opened her eyes to poverty.

“I went to White Swan and really started to understand poverty,” she said. “There’s no single home that has every single window. Half their homes are burnt because the wiring is so bad. Why is this happening? You dig deeper and it challenges your perceptions as to why there is poverty. It helps you look at lower socioeconomic areas in your own community. It opens your view of us and helps us to understand that we are all responsible for our entire community. It gives you some insight into kids. So many Native American kids are coming from poverty.“

Teachers nominate candidates annually for the Washington State Teacher of the Year, and they go through a voting process, and are ultimately honored by the Washington Governor. There are high standards and criteria that must be met.

This information about the Student Wellness Series is provided by the Camas School District.

The public is invited to attend THE STUDENT WELLNESS SERIES: TEENS & THEIR SCREENS – MARCH 26.

Please join us for a free parent education night with Yshai Boussi of Portland Family Counseling talk about how electronics are affecting student brains. He has become the areas’s go-to counselor on navigating the challenges of teens and devices.

The event – which is geared toward an adult audience – is coming up Monday, March 26, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, at Hayes Freedom High School. We welcome parents and guardians of students of every age to join us for this valuable information. There is no admission fee.

 

Up Next:

On Tuesday, April 10, from 6:30-8:00 pm in the CHS Theatre, Licensed Professional Counselor Howard Hiton will be speaking on “Competition and High Expectations: Supporting Your Children to be Independent and Resilient.”

We thank Camas Educational Foundation for the grant that helped make these opportunities possible in conjunction with the newly founded Student Wellness Program of Camas School District. Stay tuned for even more events!

*PLEASE SHARE WITH FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS – ALL ARE WELCOME*

Contact jennifer.mcmillan@camas.wednet.edu with questions or for more information.

For more on the Student Wellness Program, see Camas-Washougal Post-Record’s March 3 article here: http://www.camaspostrecord.com/news/2018/mar/01/camas-schools-prioritize-wellness/

Portland, OR — The 19th annual Camas Educational Foundation Auction Gala netted more than $100,000, reports the group’s Auction Chair, Stacey Kim.

Held this past weekend at the Embassy Suites at the Portland Airport, the money was raised from a combination of an online auction held in February, raffle ticket sales, and the Auction Gala itself. The net amount raised was about $102,000, which is after expenses. More than 300 came to Saturday’s Auction Gala.

The CEF auction is the major fundraiser for the organization.

”They set their grant budget based on the money raised at the auction,” said Kim, who reported results at Monday’s Camas School Board meeting.

Kim said they were pleased with the turnout.

“We had representation from every school, and the Superintendent’s office,” she said.

Kim also reported that three people were honored with the CEF’s second annual Living the Vision award. Cathy Sork, Ron Wright, and Eric Marcell received the honor. They had an open nomination period and received many nominations for people around the district and community. The CEF board voted on these three winners.

Of the funds raised at the gala, $22,150 goes directly to the schools, and the balance will go to the CEF to provide for grants.

To learn more, visit www.cefcamas.org

 

CEF

CEF Auction. Photo by Tracy Woods Photography.

 

CEF Auction Gala Photo Gallery

Photos by Tracy Woods Photography.

Camas, WA — Camas High School students are aligning with other Southwest Washington schools to walk out of classes on March 14 to address their concerns about the Douglas High School shootings.

The national walkout was organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER to “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

It is also part of a national #NeverAgain campaign, which originated with survivors of the shootings. The group has organized protests demanding legislative action to prevent similar shootings from happening, and is focused on calling out U.S. lawmakers who have received political contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“We are planning for the March 14th walkout in solidarity with Parkland, Florida,” said Camas High School student, Abigail Jiang. “… A group of us are collaborating with walkout organizers from all the high schools in the area to get student support for a letter to our local representatives regarding Parkland, school shootings and gun reform.”

Jiang said the walkout will be brief and allow 17 minutes of dialogue “with each minute focusing on the 17 people who died at Douglas High School.”

In reaction to the walkout, Camas School District issued the following statement:

The Camas School District supports students’ rights to express their views in a peaceful manner, including their constitutional right to assemble peacefully. (Board Procedure 3220P Freedom of Expression). As educators, we consider it important to create the conditions for students to develop into responsible global citizens who are critical thinkers and take responsible action to shape their communities.

While students at Camas High School have met with administration to coordinate the on-campus walkout for those who choose to participate, this is not a school-sponsored event. Classes are operating on a normal schedule, and we expect staff and students to be engaged in teaching and learning. We will work together to ensure that our processes support our community’s expectation for safety and supervision.”

In addition to the walkout, several Camas High School students have drafted a letter to Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and other local government officials and organizations.

Petty

Alaina Petty was killed in the Douglas High School shootings.

Student Letter

This is the letter:

Dear Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (and other local government officials/organizations),

Over the past few weeks, my classmates and I have been unable to remove the horrifying events of Parkland from our minds. Parkland was an affluent suburb known for being a safe city and for its great public school system. This description is nearly identical to many schools in Southwest Washington, where we live. Seventeen students died. We watched the videos and felt nauseous, and could only picture ourselves in their shoes. We are deeply saddened and worried to discover your views on gun control, track your voting record, and learn of your dealings with the NRA. You have stayed completely silent online regarding this tragic event. You have accepted thousands of dollars from the NRA, more than any other Washington Congressperson. Addressing mental health is extremely important, but it is not enough to prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands. Never again do we want to see a mass shooting, whether it be at a school, public venue, or place of worship. We, the students of Southwest Washington, demand that you take action against gun violence. More specifically, we demand that you:

  • Help in the banning of military-grade assault rifles and high-capacity magazines of more than 10 rounds to reduce the breadth and depth of damage mass shooters have the potential to inflict.
  • Ban bump stocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic ones. No civilian needs such weapons for self-defense.
  • Raise the age requirement to buy an AR-15 – the gun used in the Parkland shooting – from 18 to 21.
  • Lift the ban on federally funded research into causes of gun violence (the Dickey Amendment). The CDC should be allowed to extensively investigate gun violence as a public safety concern. The CDC researched car safety and smoking – this is no different.
  • Implement universal background checks, a policy that already has wide bipartisan support. Show support for implementing background checks at gun shows and online to make sure there are no loopholes where unstable individuals can obtain these weapons. You have supported loose measures on gun show purchases in the past, and this is unacceptable.
  • Extend the period of time investigators have to complete delayed background checks from 3 to 14 days. This would enhance law enforcement’s ability to prevent gun violence.
  • Increase funding for mental health services. While mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1% of yearly gun-related homicides, providing mental health services could prevent a mass shooter from ever acting on their thoughts.
  • Keep local government organizations, such as the Sheriff’s office and local FBI, accountable. Our lives depend on the integrity of their actions.

My fellow classmates and I deserve to go to school without worrying if the next time we hear a fire alarm pulled, we could be shot. We deserve to live when we step foot into our schools. We deserve to have a Congressperson that represents our demands. Mental health cannot be regulated, but guns can. This legislation would not infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of responsible citizens. Students are dying, and yet our representatives continue to do nothing, too worried about the next election to create meaningful reform that could save our lives. We are the voice of the new generation, the next voting generation, and we implore you to support common sense gun control to help save the lives of students all across the country.

Sincerely,

Concerned High School Students in the 3rd Legislative District (Southwest Washington)