March 14th marked one month since the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida. In the past month, students from across the United States have been working to change how guns are sold and used. They want stricter gun laws that ensure that people cannot buy powerful weapons and misuse them. Why is this any different from previous protests? Much of the protesting is being led by young citizens in high schools and colleges.
So what are these young protestors actually accomplishing? Well, their protests have brought about several changes already, including a measure passed by Florida’s governor to raise the minimum age to purchase a rifle from eighteen to twenty-one. Companies were pressured to withdraw their support of the National Rifle Association, an organization fighting against gun control. And this week, students organized walkouts across the country, with elementary and middle schools participating too.
Different schools and districts approached the walkouts in various ways. Some schools allowed students to walk out as long as they were peaceful. Other schools designated special zones for the walkout. Some schools indicated that students participating in the walkout would be marked absent, and still other districts promised disciplinary action.
But students from across the country were not deterred—by recent estimates, thousands of students, with school support or not, took part in the walkouts, which lasted seventeen minutes—one minute for each victim of the tragedy in Florida.
We’re still receiving reports of local walkouts, but here are two that we wanted to highlight:
The Urban School of San Francisco
Imogen B. helped organize the walkout at The Urban School of San Francisco. Why? She said, “as a school in SF, we felt it necessary to use our privilege of living in a city where we can safely march to march for gun control. We stood in solidarity with our peers affected by gun violence, especially those living in communities that do not support gun control. We protested for gun control, anti-gun violence, and to push legislators to stop taking money from the NRA and begin valuing children’s lives over gun rights.”
Junior Reporter Clarissa from Cupertino Middle School participated in her school walkout. What was her experience like?
My mom woke me up on Wednesday morning, March 14th, and told me how she had received an email from the principal of my school. She said the teachers were letting us do the walkout. I was so excited—I had heard about the walkout before but I didn’t know that my school was going to allow it. The lack of gun control in the United States is a big problem, and I knew that I wanted to make my voice heard.
At 10 a.m., we walked out of our classrooms and onto the grass. Some people had made signs saying, “Enough is enough,” “We are not afraid of the NRA,” and “You can’t shoot love.” All of the signs were written in red marker. I thought that it was very meaningful to have all of our words with the same message written in the same color. Historically, red has meant solidarity, and the goal of this walkout was for gun control laws to be stricter in every state and to show solidarity with the victims of the Parkland shooting.
I hope that people realize that enough is enough and that we need to make changes to our gun laws, not just by state or city, but federally as well. We need to amend the second amendment.
This walkout also shows that anyone can make a change, regardless if they are allowed to vote.
Did you participate in the walkout, or do you disagree with the protest? Share your thoughts with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.