Nationwide School Walkouts, Marches Planned Following Stoneman Douglas School Shooting
After 17 lives were taken, students take matters into their own hands to protest loose gun laws.
The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has sparked new calls to end gun violence across the United States. In the days following what is regarded the worst high school mass shooting since Columbine, two protests have been organized for March, with another in April, Vox reports.
The National School Walkout will be held March 14 and the March for Our Lives on March 24. Major organizers from the Women's March, a group that gained prominence last year for its anti-Trump and pro-female empowerment protests, have called for the 17-minute school walkout, on March 14 at 10 am, one minute for each life lost.
Students across the nation are onboard for both protests.
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"March for Our Lives has support from everybody. And at the end of the day this isn't a red and blue thing. This isn't Democrats or Republicans. This is about everybody and how we are begging for our lives and we are getting support. But we need to make real change here and that's exactly what we're going to do," said Cameron Kasky, a student of Stoneman Douglas High School.
"Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school,” Women’s March organizers said in a statement.
“Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.”'
Congress and The National Rifle Association have been taken to task by Survivors, for inaction as it pertains to the prevention of mass shootings. Outspoken teen Emma Gonzalez called traditional conservative talking points BS at a gun control rally over the weekend.
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats, funded by the NRA, telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS,” Gonzales said. “They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. … They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.”
According to CBS News, the protests are scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, which occurred April 1999; two students opened fire on their classmates, killing 12 students and one teacher. The Network for Public Education, an advocacy organization for public schools, will host a "national day of action" in support of gun control on April 20, the day of the Columbine shootings.
At the center of the gun control debate is the need to limit access to military-grade weapons like AR-15s, the same weapon Stoneman Douglas shooter Nikolas Cruz used.
"We need to make this moment a movement," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, a union representing teachers and other educators. "To actually make changes that need to happen in this country so that these kinds of weapons, AR-15s, are not in the hands of people who shouldn't have them."