Monday, 24 September, 2018

Walkout Highlights Impact Of Gun Violence On Youth

Walkout Highlights Impact Of Gun Violence On Youth Walkout Highlights Impact Of Gun Violence On Youth
Melissa Porter | 20 March, 2018, 18:14

Across the nation, students protested gun violence on National School Walkout Day-the one month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

More than 150 students and teachers came together at the school's football stadium for 17 minutes of silence to support the ENOUGH National School Walkout.

Unlike numerous walkouts, however, the Lourdes event was dubbed a "pray out", with students in navy blue uniforms gathering on the school's soccer field, where they listened to speeches by the school's adult leaders and said 17 Hail Mary prayers.

Lourdes senior Cesar Perez said he had mixed feelings about the top-down organization of the school's protest.

Just days after Penn students protested against gun violence on February 22, a statement from Dean of Admissions Eric Furda affirmed that peacefully protesting gun violence will not negatively effect a student's admission process into Penn.

"My shirt says "Me next" because, at this point, anybody in America could get shot in school, and I don't feel safe, so I want to project it across in a message", she said.

At nearby Penn Alexander Elementary school, students demonstrated by forming a peace sign with their bodies.

They marched for more than 17 minutes because they wanted to honor the lives lost in their community in recent years.

Columbine attack survivor Evan Todd said he saw little sense in restricting gun rights, which are enshrined in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as an attempt to stop shootings and would rather see some school staff armed.

So on Thursday, about 100 students walked out again in a peaceful demonstration honoring the 17 students and teachers killed in last month's mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. "I think it's just because there are more of them than there are of us".

Students read aloud the names of those killed and then laid down one-by-one on the snowy field.

"Seventeen minutes is a long time, but 17 victims is far too many", DeVries said.

"We're not all on the same page politically", Hunter DeVries, a student who helped organize the walkout. The school could use the money wherever they need it, she said.

In Lander, 75-100 students gathered for speeches.

While the walkout is a show of solidarity with their fallen peers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, these students are fighting for a much bigger cause: gun control reform, especially when it comes to military-grade assault weapons, like the one used in Parkland.

"We needed extended time to speak for them and walk for them", said another student.

"This is more than just the impact we are having on the policy debate though".

"You can walk back into school, and that's fine, but walking once is not necessarily going to make a difference".