Students nationwide are demanding an end to gun violence in U.S. schools by walking out of classes at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes on Wednesday, March 14 — one month after 17 students were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Dubbed the #EnoughIsEnough movement, survivors of the Parkland shooting have amplified the power of student voices and called on fellow students nationwide to join them and walk out of school with the intention to peacefully protest Congress’ lack of action other than tweet thoughts and prayers. Students and allies organized the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation, many calling for “common sense gun laws” to keep children safe from gun violence at school.
HS Insiders from Southern California and broader are sharing their school’s #NationalSchoolWalkout turnout on Instagram, Twitter and on this post that will be continuously updated throughout the day. Stay tuned. Long live student voices.
Students and teachers at CSArts-SGV gathered in front of the school on March 14 to discuss their opinions, thoughts, and feelings of the recent events and honor the lives that were tragically stolen in the violent shooting in Parkland last month. The event, organized by the students and welcomed by the administration, included a reading of the names of the victims of the lives lost in the Parkland shooting. There were speeches from two students that expressed their stance on gun violence and showed emotional student perspectives as to why guns are not what they need.
Principal Dr. Wallace asked students to perform 17 acts of kindness by April 14 “in an effort to rebuke the pattern of violence in our schools and communities,” he said. Though the event was peaceful and extremely organized, all students could feel the gravity of the situation as they gathered together with their voices and opinions to honor a tragedy that never should have happened and never should happen again.
“I believe this is the best way to remember the victims of Parkland,” Dr. Wallace said.
—Phalaen Chang, junior, and Jeremy Hsiao, sophomore, California School of the Arts-San Gabriel Valley (Duarte, Calif.)
Hundreds of Whitney High School students piled out surrounded the flag just outside the school gates Wednesday at 10 a.m. In a powerful demonstration of solidarity and unity, students stayed silent; some lowered their heads out of respect or in prayer, some solemnly stared ahead, and some gazed at the flag above. The National School Walkout comes one month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17.
The walkout was addressed the day of, when the students were formally notified in an 8 a.m. announcement over the loudspeaker that the gates leading to the flagpole immediately outside would be open for those who wished to participate. Nearly 200 exited the gates at the beginning of their snack period, and the silence remained for the following 17 minutes. Many school officials attended to supervise the crowd.
“It’s important to allow our students to still have a voice, while maintaining a safe space,” said Alyssa Skipper, a college and career counselor at Whitney.
Students slowly turned around to head back to their classes when the 17 minutes ended – the school allowed students to stay the entire duration of the walkout and arrive to their next class two minutes late without consequence.
“[Student] voices are important,” said school principal John Briquelet on the students’ participation.
—Meghan Lee, junior Whitney High School (Cerritos, Calif.)
Like other schools throughout the country, Arcadia High School held a walkout in memory of the 17 lives lost in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. Around 500 students piled into the rally court at 10 a.m. On the stage in the court, 21 students stood. Four of them spoke for change in how the U.S. approaches gun control and school shootings, and led the crowd in a moment of silence for the victims. The other 17 read out the names of the victims and their accomplishments. The last four minutes were designated for time to sign a poster dedicated to the victims of the shooting as well as their family, friends, and schoolmates and teachers. After the 17 minutes, the majority of students quietly walked back to class.
The school administration did not explicitly show any support nor opposition for it. Administration advised teachers to take roll near the end of the third period, when the walkout was held. Arcadia’s walkout was decidedly non-political. The organizers stated that the walkout was not to speak about gun control, but only that Arcadia stood with Parkland and that everyone wanted a safer school environment.
“I have young siblings and I love them so much,” freshman Susan Vongfak said. “[I’m participating] in the walk-out…for the hope that the government will take action and I’ll never have to look for my siblings’ names on a list of shooting victims.”
—Kaitlin Lee, sophomore, Arcadia High School (Arcadia, Calif.)
“This scene shows a high number of Cleveland High School’s students coming together with signs and walking
out of the school on to the road and protesting peacefully. The editor-in-chief of our newspaper is at the top of the stage announcing a call to action as we respond. However, it is a movement of students that has put together the flags, etc. In this moment, there was chanting, acknowledgement of our capabilities and our voices, and a collaboration of efforts.”
—Macy Kwon, freshman, Cleveland High School (Reseda, Calif.)
Over 400 Brentwood School middle and high school students united to promote school safety as they walked off campus in honor of the one month anniversary of the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The walkout began with a moment of silence. Students, many of whom wore orange clothing, were alternately sober, carrying posters with pictures commemorating each of the Parkland victims, and energized, carrying homemade signs that exercised their right to protest. Some chanted “Enough is Enough!” as they streamed down Sunset Boulevard in West Los Angeles.
The walkout was the product of hours of planning by a group of concerned student advocates. The group emphasized that this was a nonpartisan, voluntary event in support of school safety meant to honor those who died in Parkland and other victims of school gun violence.
“I think students felt that they had made an impact, knowing that they were doing something to disrupt the normal school day to make a statement about school safety,” senior and student organizer Eve L. said. “Students were touched and moved by the event, particularly because we were on Sunset Boulevard. The honking, thumbs-ups, peace signs and waving we got from passing cars was really reaffirming. It showed that there are many people who support this student movement.”
In an effort to support its students, Brentwood School’s administration scheduled advisory meetings at the time of the walkout and coordinated extra security to keep students safe as they exited the campus and crossed onto Sunset.
The demonstration was the first of its kind at Brentwood School, a moment of empowerment for its students.
—Lily Richman, junior, Brentwood School (Los Angeles, Calif.)
West Torrance High School’s administration decided to take on a somewhat minimized participation in the National School Walkout. Instead of walking out, students were given a choice to participate in the “Voice Out” activities of the day or continue the school day as normal. Students were able to “voice out” by signing up to participate in different activities during workshop period. Approximately 300 students participated. Some students gave one-minute speeches addressing gun control. Others made posters showing their solidarity via heartfelt messages, and some wrote letters to government officials. There was also a prayer group option for a warm and welcoming way for students to come together.
“The activities were effective because they opened up the floor to students to support those in the tragedy however they chose,” senior Nick Snyder said.“No one forced a student to do anything, and it was made clear that West High supported students in the demonstration.”
Prior to activities, there was a one-minute moment of silence. Students then proceeded to attend their selection of the offered activities. Earlier this week, administration told parents via email that the school would not be having a walkout and would instead be having this voice out.
—Omar Rashad, senior, West Torrance High School (Torrance, Calif.)
About 100 students from Daniel Pearl Magnet High School walked out of their classes as second period came to a close at 10 a.m. to protest gun violence and advocate for gun law reform on March 14.
As students made their way down the main school hallway, they silently gathered in The Grove before walking out of school. As everyone started making their way to the District Offices with the guidance of some of the staff from DPMHS to ensure safety for all students.
When everyone arrived, sophomore Marjina Haque gave a short speech about gun violence and the lives lost in the Parkland shooting. Everyone stood shouting and waving their signs before the front gate was unlocked so students could take to the sidewalk and display their posters for the streets where cars honked in support.
After getting back to DPMHS, sophomore Kaia Greenwood, who organized the walkout for students at DPMHS to participate in, lead everyone in a moment of silence, then spoke about her concerns following the Parkland shooting. After all this in a total 17 minutes, everyone came back to DPMHS and either went about their daily schedules, got to visit the Multi Purpose Room (MPR) to register to vote or made more posters in support of their cause.
—Rachel Bullock, senior, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (Lake Balboa, Calif.)
There are many days that will live in infamy, and March 14, is now one of them. Today was not just a chance to protest the gross inadequacy of gun safety in America, but also a moment to honor the lives we lost in Parkland— 17 too many.
For 17 minutes, more than 500 students at Arcadia High School paid tribute to Parkland’s fallen with speeches, a reading of names, poster-signing, and a moment of silence. Despite the school deciding to neither “condone nor condemn” the walkout, student organizers assured their peers that administration had advised faculty to withhold truancy marks for participants as long as they returned immediately after 17 minutes, emphasizing that the walkout was not an excuse to ditch class but a way to make a diplomatic and respectful statement about recent events and the reform that ought to follow. The end goal of the walkout “isn’t just to simply leave for 17 minutes,” affirmed student organizer senior Frank Lee, “it’s for students to start to care about this issue and push the momentum from this event to generate more productive dialogue and change.”
True to their word, the students gathered calmly at the school’s rally court, making to sure keep the microphone volume low and applauses appropriate in order to avoid disturbing ongoing classes. At 10:17 a.m., the students returned to class, but not without a profound new realization of the role their generation will play in changing the world for the better.