OCSA students lay on the ground and hold hands to symbolize the lost lives of the teens in the Florida shooting. Photo by Alena Nguyen

Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout

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 Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout
Students at CSA-SGV gather to for a reading of the 17 names and a moment of silence for the Parkland victims.

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.)


whitney hs walkout Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout
Whitney High School students quietly gathered around the school’s flagpole to participate in the nationwide School Walkout. Photo by Meghan Lee

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.)


 Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout
​Arcadia High School Students gather in the rally court to hear speeches and to voice their support for a safer school environment. Photo by Kaitlin Lee

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.)


image attachment Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout

“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.)


Hundreds of students streamed out of the school buildings and toward the football field at 10 a.m. Students carried signs that read, “Enough,” “carry love not guns,” among others. The students, including our school principal and several teachers, gathered on the football field. Five student leaders, who organized the walkout and poster-making efforts, gave speeches to encourage and thank the students who walked out. One girl shared about a family member who was lost in the Las Vegas shooting. Another shared about how we as students should continue to stay informed and develop our own opinions, as gun control and school safety are not one-sided issues.
Still another talked about how we “must not forget the 17 when we turn 18,” and encouraged students to pre-register to vote and write letters to Congressmen. To conclude, there was a 17-second long moment of silence for the 17 killed in the Parkland shooting, and a student sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day. The students were respectful and quiet most of the time, with scattered cheering throughout. There was a little tension at the entrance to the football field, though, because a few students held signs that read “Ban abortions, not guns.”
I am very proud of my school for fostering a safe environment for students to voice their fears, opinions, and ideas. However, I believe in change, and in action. Most of all, I believe in walking out for the victims of gun violence and standing up for my belief that horrors like these should never happen again. I am deeply grateful for the student leaders at my school and nationwide who set the example of how to respectfully and peacefully stand up for what they believe in.
—Alyssa Yeh, senior, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.)

 Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout
Brentwood students walk out of school and on Sunset Boulevard.

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.)


img 0140 Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout
Photo by Omar Rashad

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.)


screen shot 2018 03 15 at 10 43 29 am Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout
Carrying colorful posters, juniors Alexsia Ishkhanian and Bella Feinstein walk out of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) and walk into the parking lot of the Northwest District Offices of the Los Angeles Unified School District to peacefully protest gun violence in schools and advocate for gun law reform. Photo by Rachel Bullock

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.)


ocsa walkout Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout

Over 1,500 kids walked out at Orange County School of the Arts. After 10 minutes of evacuation from the drill, students slowly began holding up their protest posters and signs. We all began chanting and holding each other’s hands. The teachers and admin were supportive. Towards the end of the 17 minutes, the principal sat, kneeled, and laid down with the rest of the students to symbolize how in 2013, a girl was shot and killed in a case of mistaken identity. Her parents chose orange to honor her and call for gun reform because orange is what hunters wear to protect themselves from other hunters.
“The protest was insane…There was a lot of companionship and trust at the protest. Everyone relied on each other and supported each other. There was so much passion and it just spread from person to person. People you’d never met were yelling with you,” student Rory Lowdermilk said.
Another student, Ava Johnson, said she felt very empowered.
“I knew, as soon as I saw everyone together, chanting and holding up signs and fists and peace signs, that we had the power to change the world. I knew that we weren’t asking for gun control anymore, we were demanding it,” Johnson said.
—Alena Nguyen, freshman, Orange County School of the Arts (Santa Ana, Calif.)

arcadia walkout Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout
Hundreds of students gather to hear the names of the 17 fallen victims of the Parkland shooting being read aloud by walkout’s student organizers at Arcadia High School.

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.

 —Sarah Wang, junior, Arcadia High School (Arcadia, Calif.)

To show support for the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, hundreds of students, faculty and staff at Harvard-Westlake walked out of class during National School Walkout Wednesday.

Though the school supported the walkout, student organizers sophomore Lauren Juzang, junior Rachel Grode, senior Abbie Howell and senior Eli Timoner spearheaded the event and arranged the exhibition on Ted Slavin Field. During the 17 minutes of silence, participants gathered around 17 empty desks, which represented the victims of the shooting. Students also viewed screenshots of texts Marjory Stoneman Douglas students had sent during the shooting and the victims’ bios that surrounded the chairs. A background video displayed speeches of members of the Never Again movement addressing members of the government as well.

Participants said that they were pleased that the school supported the students’ desire to aid the Never Again movement and protest gun control. The school did not give out any detentions or suspensions to students who left class, and additionally, several faculty members joined the students.

 Students Protest Gun Violence in U.S. Schools in a #NationalSchoolWalkout“I think it’s important that our school allowed us to participate in it because it puts the words of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School into actual action that can be seen and hopefully will contribute to greater change,” junior Angela Tan said.


Following the walkout, Our First Vote organized a Voter Registration Drive open to all students over the age of 16 on March 16.

—Saba Nia, junior, Harvard-Westlake High School, Los Angeles


 

1 Comment

  • Reply Just News from Center X – March 23, 2018 – UCLA Center X March 23, 2018 at 12:55 am

    […] Staff, Los Angeles Times At the Los Angeles Times, we try to do our part to raise the next generation of storytellers. Our High School Insider program offers young journalists a helping hand, with classroom resources, special conferences, paid internships and a chance to get their work published on our website. Some of our HS Insider reporters were on the job March 14, when students all over the nation organized walkouts and other activities to honor the 17 people killed a month earlier at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and to push for stricter gun control to try to prevent future mass shootings. You can read their accounts here. […]

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