Update: A shooting took place at one of the schools mentioned in this article, Great Mills High School. To read more about it please click here.
In an act of remembrance for the 17 students who were killed in February’s Parkland, Fl. school shooting, a call to action against gun violence, and a message to legislators to enact gun control, students from across the United States of America walked out of their classrooms in protest on March 14.
Participating students, teachers and other school-related personnel were instructed to leave their classrooms for around 17 minutes — one minute for each victim from Parkland — at 10 a.m.
The event was organized by the Women’s March Youth Empower group. They report that 3,136 walkouts took place, some of which happened internationally.
“Protect Students, Not Guns,” read one sign held by a student in Chicago, Ill. “Protect our kids, not the NRA,” said another in Seattle, Wash. In Boston, Mass. a sign read, “Protect our Future, Vote.” In some school systems, the walkout was a school-sanctioned event, while in others students were threatened with disciplinary measures — from detention to suspension — for their protest.
In Maryland, many students took advantage of their proximity to the capital of the United States. Holding signs asking “Am I next?” and stating “We Will Be Silent No Longer,” students from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School marched to the White House, approximately eight miles, where they sat in silence for 17 minutes, according to WAMU.
In St. Mary’s County, according to The Baynet, students from Leonardtown, Chopticon and Great Mills High Schools participated in the National School Walkout.
Their actions were neither supported nor opposed by the schools’ administrations. According to The Baynet, administrators said: “they would not restrict the student’s First Amendment rights.”
Most members of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland community were home for spring break during the walkouts, but the Student Government Association plans to orchestrate workshops and facilitate travel to the #MarchForOurLives event in D.C. on March 24.