Students Stage Walkouts Across The Nation

By Erika Hanson | Published

walkouts

It has been a long, gut-wrenching week for Americans reeling in the aftermath of one of the most deadly school shootings in history. Lawmakers battle over how to respond, and citizens take to their keyboards to argue over social media about gun reform. But at the heart of the tumultuous situations are the millions of students that have to go to school every day, and fear for their safety. Showing their concerns, thousands of students took action over the last two days, staging walkouts all across the nation.

NBC News reported that public school students across the U.S. walked out of classes on Thursday and Wednesday in a demand for more rigid gun control laws following the death of 19 young elementary students and the 2 teachers who tried to protect them in the Uvalde, Texas massacre. These nationwide walkouts were in part coordinated by the group Students Demand Action, an affiliate of Everytown for Gun Safety.

The young activist group estimated that there were more than 200 schools participating in the walkouts. However, a spokesperson, Sarah Harris, said it is hard to pinpoint exactly how many took place, and more were likely to have joined the protest. Many of the students who participated wore orange – the color symbolizing the widespread gun violence prevention revolution. The advocacy group called on the students to walk out of classrooms at noon eastern time. Many were joined by their teachers, and even parents showed up to root on the young pupils.

While the walkouts were reported all over the nation, some appeared larger in scale than others. Outside of Los Angeles, more than 150 students who attend Crescenta Valley High School participated in the protest. In Vermont, students took swift action, planning a protest at Ahmadi High School. In Falls Church, Virginia, students held a “die-in” protest where they all were seen laying down on their school’s football field.

One notable and harrowing walkout happened in a high school in Michigan. At the Oxford High School, students joined in the country-wide walkouts and met on the school’s football field, where they formed a large “U” in memory of those who were killed on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas. These students were no stranger to school shooting tragedy, as their school also suffered a loss earlier this year following a mass shooting. In November, a 15-year-old brought a gun to school and killed 11 people and wounded more. 

The major point of these massive student walkouts, according to an online toolkit, was to call on leaders to enact strict gun control policies. On the student group website, a major note is that gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the country, overtaking auto accidents. Gunfire on school grounds is at a historic high this year, and many believe the situation is only going to get worse. Student walkouts may not bring any apparent change, but they signify a message to American leaders that America’s youth has had enough. Some believe stricter gun laws will alleviate the growing issue, while others feel that more school security is the answer. Both, or maybe neither may be the solution. But what is known is that if nothing is done, the problem will surely continue.