Across the nation on Wednesday, February 21, high school students walked out of their classes in response to a call for protest over gun laws in the US following the murder of 17 people, including 14 high school students, in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day.
In Schaumburg, Illinois, about 1,200 students protested the nation’s “18th-century” gun laws by taking to the streets, The Saxon Scribe reported. “We’ve given politicians time to take any action; the time is ours,” the student newspaper quoted one senior boy as saying. “If they’re not going to do anything, we’re going to show them we’re not happy with them.”
“As the bell rang to signal the end of fifth period, students, many carrying signs and chanting “save our kids” and “no more guns,” exited the building and gathered in a designated area along Schaumburg Road where they remained for approximately 30 minutes before re-entering the building,” editors in chief Krislyn Cardoza and Meghan Kier write. “The protest culminated in 17 minutes of silence, one minute for each victim of the Florida massacre.”
Students in Schaumburg were joined by others in Oak Park, St Charles, Elk Grove, Buffalo Grove, and Wheeling, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“The gun laws in this country are broken,” the paper quoted a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School as saying. “We really need to update today’s laws. Our government isn’t doing that. If we can’t lean on them to do it, then we’ve got to be that change.”
The protests, which mirrored those at hundreds or thousands of high schools across the nation, were not without a controversy of their own.
The Lion’s Tale student newspaper at the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, reports that administrators at the school condemned a walkout planned for 9 AM Thursday. Other students in Rockville and across Montgomery County received unexcused absences for walking out on Wednesday but chose to do it anyway. At Charles E Smith, school officials generally won’t take a position on the political issue of gun control.
“CESJDS is an educational institution and as such, we do not support political issues which is why we could not support a walkout for political purposes,” writers Kate Sosland, Aliza Rabinovitz, Amelia Davidson, Addie Bard, and Izzy May quoted Dean of Students Roslyn Landy as saying. “It is also important to remember that allowing students to walk out of school is a safety and security issue as we are responsible for students. We encourage our students to stand up for what they believe and work toward change but if it is a political issue, they need to get involved outside of school.”
The issue of guns in schools continues to plague communities and school administrators all over. A student brought a loaded handgun to school on February 15, the day after the attack in Parkland, at Clarksburg High School in Maryland. The student was arrested after police discovered the handgun and a knife in his backpack, The Howl student newspaper reports.