Editor's Note: A photo originally appearing with this article pictured Green Canyon High School student Josh Godfrey and identified him as one of the students lined up to sign a petition protesting the recent U.S. military action against Iran. Godfrey contacted The Herald Journal to say he was not one of the protesters but attended the gathering to civilly debate the issue with other students.
After seeing protests around the state and country in response to the threat of war with Iran, some local high school students organized a walkout during school on Wednesday afternoon.
“My whole childhood was coming off the heels of the Iraq war,” said Lucas Larsen, a senior at Sky View High School. “These events stuck with me, and when I saw that a powerful military leader in Iran was killed by the U.S., it reminded me of all the innocent lives that we taken because of Iraq and I knew that I had to do something.”
Lucas rushed to organize a protest of his own. After reaching out to Greta Harris, his friend who is a senior at Green Canyon High School, they began to plan a walkout at both high schools.
On Jan. 2, the U.S. military assassinated Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian general, in an airstrike. In response, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. Things seemed to be escalating and people around the country waited to see what would happen next.
Just a few hours before Lucas and his friends were set to walk out of their fourth period class in protest, President Trump addressed the country saying that the situation was moving towards de-escalation.
This, however, didn’t stop the walkout.
“After the president called for de-escalations, there were still important conversations going on about the future and what could happen,” Lucas said.
At 12:35 p.m., a small crowd of students gathered outside at both GCHS and SVHS. They wrote letters to their representatives, passed around voter registration papers and signed a petition to limit President Trump’s war powers with Iran. A resolution to do just that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
While the protest didn’t garner a huge response, it sparked conversations that have lasted all week.
“Many students didn’t really know what was going before our protest, but it brought attention to it and I got so many questions afterward,” Lucas said.
Greta said that many Trump-supporting students showed up at the GCHS walkout with big Trump flags to protest the protest.
“Many of them ended up engaging in a really great conversation with us by the end,” Greta said. “It was really good to hear different perspectives and just have a good, civil discussion with people with different opinions.”
Both Lucas and Greta agreed that the protest did not turn out exactly as planned but led to an increased awareness about the situation.
“We had a lot of criticisms that a walk-out isn’t educational, but I would argue that protests are one of the most American and most educational experiences that you can have,” Lucas said. “I certainly learned a lot organizing it and standing up for something that I cared about.”