Students participated in a nation-wide walkout this afternoon to protest gun violence and call for more stringent firearm regulations. The walkout was inspired by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who have been vocal in their demands for gun reform in the wake of a shooting that claimed the lives of seventeen of their classmates and teachers.
The walkout began at noon, and lasted for approximately seventeen minutes, a nod to the seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting. A group of 215 students left the school and congregated on the grassy stretch between Maple Avenue and the road leading to the junior parking lot. The event was loosely organized, with some students standing silently in a line, and others milling about or talking with friends. It should be noted that not all in attendance came for the purpose of advocating for legislative firearm reform. Some came just because it was school-sanctioned skipping. One student said that he intended to go to McDonalds, but the faculty presence was more robust than expected.
Senior Mckenna Magoffin, junior Rachel Richmond and sophomore Shea Rider all participated in the walkout because they support tighter gun regulations. Magoffin would like to see a phase-out of handguns, and Rider hopes that warning signs–such as violent, unpredictable behavior–can be taken into account to prevent more school shootings. Though Richmond thinks the walk-out might help on a local level, she thinks that more needs to be done if real change is to actually happen.
“I personally don’t feel like this will change anything,” Richmond said. “I think that we should write to our Congress members if we want to make a change.”
A previous version of this article stated that 100 students attended the rally. The article now includes an updated estimate of 215 students.