Students take part in walkouts nationwide


Students head back into the building after a 17 minute walkout meant to honor each victim of the Parkland tragedy on its one month anniversary. Some chose to demonstrate their views on the event through a mass protest in DC, MCPS students mobilizing with posters and slogans in front of the US Capitol Building. Photo by Beatriz Olivares.

Sam Falb, Senior News Editor

At 10:00 a.m., thousands of students from across the United States walked out of their classrooms and stood outside to honor the lives of the 17 individuals lost in the Parkland tragedy and demonstrate for stricter gun control measures.

MCPS students utilized their unique opportunity to make their intentions known to one of the highest echelons of power in the US: the United States Congress. Participants converged on the National Mall in front of the Capitol Building to make their stand, waving posters, chanting slogans and speaking to media outlets covering the event. Just days before, 7,000 pairs of shoes had been lain on the grass in front of the Capitol Building to represent the number of children reportedly killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 in a similar protest against perceived inaction by the government in regards to gun legislation.

“We’ll never have another chance like this in high school and it’s something that we’re really passionate about,” senior Allie Kalik said.

Kalik and friends traveled to DC to express their personal frustrations with the current political climate, which they believe has not done enough to protect students and associated staff in the wake of the mass shootings that have occurred in recent years.

WJ applied a revised schedule to accomodate the originally planned 17 minute walkout, using a double third period schedule to grant students the opportunity to make their statement without risking an unexcused absence. Participants gathered in the bus loop and took a minute of silence after each victims’ name was read. Counterprotest was noted from students who reportedly viewed an individual in the media center holding a sign reading “Guns don’t kill people, people do.”

Some chose to abstain from any proceedings altogether, their personal views contradicting the aims of the event.

“I don’t necessarily not support [gun control]… I just don’t understand what people are asking for. Is it just a ban on assault rifles? Is it a ban on all guns? If you go against someone with a gun and you don’t have a gun, you’ll lose every time,” senior Melissa Hill said.

Others were more conflicted about the issues at hand.

“Cities with the strictest gun laws in America… Detroit, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles… still have some of the highest crime rates per capita. Restricting firearms from law-abiding citizens won’t necessarily do anything. But I think there should be a change. These kinds of people shouldn’t get [guns] but sadly they do. I think at the end of the day it’s just a lot more complicated than banning them all or not banning anything,” senior Ryan Driscoll said.

Students and their allies will once again have the opportunity to present their arguments at the March For Our Lives on March 24, a national campaign comprised of city-based marches. All will promote the message of stricter gun control legislation. Thousands are expected to attend with celebrities and other influential figures to be in the mix.