national school walkout day

National School Walkout/Facebook

National School Walkout Day takes an even darker tone in the wake of another shooting

Protesters were already gathering nationwide when the school shooting occurred.

 

Ana Valens

IRL

Published Apr 20, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 5:58 pm CDT

Just over a month after the Women’s March Youth Empower hosted #Enough: National School Walkout, students around the U.S. left class at 10am local time today and stood in solidarity against gun violence as part of National School Walkout Day.

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National School Walkout Day was created by 16-year-old Lane Murdoch, a sophomore at Connecticut’s Ridgefield High School. Developed alongside three other classmates, Murdoch wanted to create a protest in response to the Parkland high school shooting, which left 17 students dead after a former student opened fire on Feb. 14.

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Today’s protest calls for 13 seconds of silence for the 13 people killed during the Columbine High School shooting that took place 19 years ago today. Organizers have asked students to leave class for the entire day after their silence.

But as teens prepared to protest, another school shooting broke out, this time in Ocala, Florida. A Forest High student was shot in the ankle and is now in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries; the shooter was arrested.

The news served as a dark reminder that school shootings feel more pervasive than ever in the U.S., even as teen activists vow to fight back against gun violence. Twitter users quickly turned to the hashtag #NationalSchoolWalkout in anger and frustration, warning that change is long overdue.

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Protests continued across the nation as breaking news emerged. Teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the Parkland shooting occurred, began protesting at 7am ET prior to the Forest High School shooting, with students quickly lining up by 8:50am.

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Teens throughout the nation joined in by 10am local time with their own protests. While turnout seemed relatively smaller than last month at some schools, others took the day in stride and let their voices be heard.

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Not every protest went along seamlessly, however. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were warned by Principal Ty Thompson that they would face disciplinary measures if they left school grounds, CNN reports. Meanwhile, Ocala’s Marion County canceled all of its walkouts after the Forest High School shooting.

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National School Walkout Day falls days after a Pew Research Center study revealed over half of all U.S. teens worry about school shootings. Their parents are equally concerned, with 63 percent fearing that a school shooting could occur on their child’s campus.

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*First Published: Apr 20, 2018, 11:21 am CDT