By Saveria Farino
To create change, citizens have historically had to resort to acts of civil disobedience. With the controversy surrounding gun control once again reaching a peak following the tragedy in Parkland, FL. and the seven other school shootings in 2018, students around the nation will use their First Amendment rights to participate in organized school walkouts in protest of gun laws.
Enough is enough!
Women's March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am on March 14, 2018. Join us in saying #ENOUGH!https://t.co/8ZE8uthRlZ pic.twitter.com/45yCZl4zDm
— Women's March (@womensmarch) February 16, 2018
The Women’s March youth branch, EMPOWER, has the hashtag #NationalSchoolWalkout circulating on media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to inform teachers and students on how they can take action on gun control. At 10:00 a.m. on March 14, activists will walk out of their third period classes for 17 minutes– one for each life lost in Parkland.
“I will be walking out because I personally think that gun control needs to be more severe than it is in the country as a whole,” Angeli LaGuardia, junior, said. “We’ve already had 14 shootings in the first two months of the new year, and nationally, no other country is struggling with that issue because their gun laws are so strict. I think it’s important for the younger generation to protest and exercise their rights, instead of not being as engaged in society.”
Coronado students will not be suspended or have a required parent conference if they choose to participate in the demonstration; however, students can face consequences for leaving in the middle of class because they are missing instruction. Students who choose to participate will not be marked absent from class provided they return immediately following the 17-minute walk out.
“Coronado High School will always support students’ rights to voice their opinion,” Principal Piccininni said. “While there are always multiple sides to any issue, it is our hope that students engage in debate peacefully, respectfully, and with productive end in mind. To that end supporting students who wish to act to make our world a better place, change policy which may need revision, or pursue improvements to systems and structures that influence their lives, will always be a school philosophy. Simply said, engaged students, working to make the world better, is what we as a school hope for.”
The March for our Lives is another peaceful protest, and it will take place on Saturday, March 24 in big cities around the country including Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York. Another walkout will commence in April in honor of the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre in Columbine, Colorado; students who participate in The National High School Walk-Out for Anti-Gun Violence will walk out of school for the day and wear orange to let the government know that the time for change is now.
The goal of the walkouts is to bring awareness to issues regarding gun laws in the United States. The next immediate steps students can take to initiate change would be to write to Nevada’s elected officials: Senator Dean Heller or Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Students can also join national organizations like Women’s March Global which uses the power of social media to encourage change.