Students across the country are gearing up for a series of school walkouts over the next two months, a national movement sparked by outrage over the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed.
Last week, nearly 1,000 students at Southern Regional High School and 1,000 more at the district middle school participated in a student-organized walkout to protest gun violence and memorialize the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The 17-minute protest aligned with protests around the country.
More are planned throughout March and April, and other local school districts plan to get involved.
Organizers of the Women’s March have helped a collective of teenage students from across the country, called Youth Empower, put together a protest March 14 called the #Enough National School Walkout. The walkout is set to begin at 10 a.m. and last 17 minutes. So far, no schools in The Press coverage area have signed up to participate.
On March 24, March For Our Lives invites students, school professionals and others to march against gun violence. The event was organized by the survivors of the Parkland shooting.
“March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar,” according to the group’s website.
The national walk will be held in Washington, D.C., but smaller walks are being organized in other cities, including Philadelphia.
April 20 is being called National School Walkout Day and is happening on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. Schools such as Ocean City and Mainland Regional high schools have signed up to participate in the all-day walkout set to begin at 10 a.m.
The founder of the movement is Lane Murdock, 15, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, who started a Change.org petition immediately after the Florida shootings to publicize the event. She wrote on her Twitter account Feb. 26 that she founded the event as a day of solidarity and activism.
“But I also want this to be about empowering youth. To encourage them to pursue their opinions, to vote. To speak up and act on issues. It’s our time,” Murdock wrote.
The Women’s March and National School Walkout groups issued a joint statement on Instagram last week in support of each other and the March For Our Lives.
“Please join us in supporting and participating in both student walkouts, the March For Our Lives and all student-led advocacy efforts that continue the fight for our safety,” the statement reads.