Thousands of students in the U.S. exited their classrooms on Wednesday as part of a series of nationwide walkouts protesting an action by lawmakers on gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting one month ago at a Florida high school.
The walkouts marked the anniversary of the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old former student armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle killed 14 students and three school officials.
Each walkout was set to begin at 10 a.m. local time and last 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 people who died.
More that 3,000 walkouts across the country have been registered. The effort was organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, a group of young people affiliated with the Women’s march organizers.
At least 30 Catholic
high schools and a dozen Catholic colleges had listed walkouts on their websites.
Jeffery Van Deven, a junior and one of the students who helped to plan St Borgia’s walkout said he and two classmates, Sean Bierman and Grace McKennis, were inspired to initiate the walkout at St. Borgia by the students at Stoneman Douglas.
“Enough is enough. That really made an impact,” Van Deven, told NCR.
In the Chicago Archdiocese, nearly 200 of its schools, consisting of upward of 80,000 students, staff and teachers, planned to hold peace-building activities in solidarity with the walkouts.
At Notre Dame High School in Belmont, California, students at the all-girls school were prepared to walk out and march outside the school before holding an assembly that would include a prayer service, student speeches and discussions. They would also have tables to register students to vote.
“We have encouraged our students to become active in the political dialogue and process. … We support and celebrate our students as they organize to make their voices heard,” Maryann Osmond, head of the school, said in a statement. ~ National Catholic