Friday, April 20, was international school walkout day where students from all over the United States walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. to protest against gun violence. While this was a way to voice students opinions and raise awareness, a simple walkout will not change gun violence.
This national walkout happened only a few weeks after thousands of students walked out March 14 for 17 minutes– one minute for each victim of the February high school shooting at Parkland, Fla. It also happened to fall on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in Colorado, therefore making this movement more meaningful. The main reason for this national walkout is because many students argue that elected officials have not worked hard enough to prevent school shootings despite all the national debates and campus shootings since Columbine, therefore they want their voices/opinions to be heard to potentially stop gun violence.
Voicing concerns is a great way to start change, but one simple walkout will not get much done. If students really do want change they must get involved with things like voting, getting to know their politicians, locally and countrywide, and using social media to their advantage.
Brianna Cooper, a sophomore at Bel Air high school said the reason why she participated in Bel Air’s walkout is that if one wants to change, “then start with yourself.” She wanted to prove that teenage stereotypes are wrong and show adults that young adults can speak up about important issues and make a change as well. Younger generations often don’t get taken seriously when trying to speak their opinions and that must change. Cooper believes the best way to catch the president and government’s attention is by writing, calling or making a petition and sending it to Congress.
“It’s not just schools, it’s gay clubs, it’s churches… [people] can’t even go comfortably because they’re afraid they’re next. I’m scared to be
next,” junior Evelyn Samaro said.
Samaro felt that attending the walkout would be a way of paying her respects to those who have lost their lives at the hands of guns. Although Samaro doesn’t know if students will be heard after this movement because to a lot of adults teens are “just a bunch of hormonal teenagers who find every excuse to ditch– and maybe for some that is true,” Samaro believes it’ll still let government and our country know that students are not comfortable with the current gun laws that aren’t doing a good job at keeping everyone safe. Samaro also suggests to start using social media to our advantage and use it to talk about important issues such as gun control.
Sophomore Kristen Elguea, acknowledges that school shootings and gun violence is a big issue that must come to an end somehow. The reason why Elguea participated in this national walkout is that she believes that “no matter what age you are, your voice deserves to be heard.” But she believes that voting is possibly the fastest way to seek/achieve change for our future. Young adults are less likely to vote in any type of elections, but in order for there to change the younger generations must inform themselves and vote for who they believe to be the best leader. If you don’t vote, then don’t complain when you get a horrible leader. Every vote counts. Voice your opinion through voting; chose someone who shares the same beliefs as you, will be responsible and ethical and good things will happen.
School should be a place where kids and young adults can safely attend to get an education. Schools shouldn’t be a place where students feel at danger or at risk of losing their lives. Although protests– in this case walking out of school– won’t make a huge change, it’s a good start to open people’s eyes and let them know that, as a country, Americans must act on gun violence and provide a safe future for future generations.
By Andrea Nuñez