Walk Out to Recognize National Gun Violence Problem

Jessica Rosiak, Staff Writer

In response to school shootings, including the recent massacre in Florida, various organizations across the country are encouraging nation-wide student walkouts on March 14 and April 20.

The Women’s March organization, a group responsible for coordinating and promoting activism in the wake of the 2016 election, is asking the nation’s students to join the walk out on March 14 in an effort to advocate for stricter federal gun laws and to support the victims of gun violence. The March 14 walk out is planned to last 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 who were killed at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School.

A small group of Campolindo students, including junior Sophia West, are working with the administration and staff to coordinate campus participation in the March 14 event.  According to these student coordinators, who have set up an Instagram account to publicize the event, the planned walk out will span the last 5 minutes of 4th period, passing period, and the first 2 minutes of Academy.

According to West, thousands of schools across the country are expected to participate, including other district schools like Miramonte and Las Lomas as well as local k-12 schools like Joaquin Moraga Middle.

West said that some of her teachers had encouraged her to take action.  She is opposed to solutions for school shootings proposed by President Trump and Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA), who both have postulated that the problem would be solved by more guns being passed out to school personnel.

LaPierre has said that school shootings would be less common if school teachers themselves were given guns to protect themselves and their students. 

“I’ve always been pretty passionate about pro-gun control stance,” said West.  Yet, she was careful to point out that the March 14 walk out is not intended to take sides with a particular political party or support a particular view.  Rather, it is intended to draw attention to the problem.

Sophomore Lily Storrs, who debated the topic in her Contemporary Issues class, said she wants to see both sides. “We [the class] have… talked about the different views and perspectives on gun control policies so we are looking at the different views of people…We talked about their views on gun control policies and they have the idea that guns create violence and are very murderous weapons and then people who are gun owners have a different view and we are learning the two different sides of it,” she said.

An additional walk out is planned for the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. This full-day walk out is planned for April 20.

The Columbine shooting occurred in 1999 when two seniors attacked their campus, killing 13 people and injuring 21 others .

Along with walking out, participants in the April 20 event are asked to wear orange, the color of the anti-gun violence movement.

“Because we are the younger generation, we are the generation that will be able to vote in the next couple of years. We will be the future of the United States….  It is very much true and all of the policies and legislations passed now is more going to affect us more than the people in their 50’s and 60’s who are passing it, and they are not , in terms of gun-control, taking into account what I am seeing as the mass opinion for a stronger gun control legislation, and that’s what we are fighting for,” said West. 

“We are students, we are victims, we are change,” states National School Walkout’s Twitter.