The Saratoga Sun -

A protest of one


April 11, 2018

On March 24, thousands of people converged upon Washington D.C. to attend the “March for Our Lives,” a protest that had been organized in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Fla. At the same time, an estimated 800 marches were taking place in cities around the nation and the world. In the town of Riverside, population 52, one lone protester was present.

Pat Laird taught second-grade students at the Saratoga Elementary School (SES) for 25 years, teaching altogether for 38 years, before retiring in 2005. Laird’s room was closest to the front entrance of the SES building and, when the schools began to hold active shooter drills, she was instructed by the school board to be strict with her room.

“I had the procedure to go and place where the key was close to the door so that I could lock the door immediately,” said Laird, “and then told to get the kids back into a corner under the coat rack away from the windows so that they would be safest just in case we had someone enter.”

Despite having been retired for 13 years, Laird said she wanted to take part in the protest to support students. She grabbed her sign and walked from her house to Riverside, a total distance of two miles. Laird’s protest of one lasted approximately 45 minutes.

“It was interesting. There were people that were by the Bear Trap that just kind of looked at me and I just kept going along. Then I had someone who gave me encouragement on the other side of the street,” said Laird.

Laird said she marched because she personally felt like she needed a way to express how she was feeling and to support the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

“I’ve been retired since 2005. The memory of me having to do those drills is vivid in my mind, still to this day. I just think our children are remembering these things, too, and to see how teachers now might be allowed to have guns. I just think we’re asking too much,” Laird said.


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