On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of their respective schools to protest gun violence. The demonstrations were sparked by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in February which left 17 people dead.
The event was organized by ENOUGH National School Walkout with over 3,000 registered participants in 50 states and was intended to last 17 minutes in honor of the Florida victims. However, many participants protested for a longer amount of time.
“The mood, much like the weather this morning, is cold but it’s hard and to the point,” said Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, whose school staged two walkouts.
In Washington, D.C., a large crowd of students gathered and chanted until 10 a.m. EDT, at which time they sat with their backs to the White House silently for the 17 minutes.
Many of the participants were too young to vote but felt that the walkout would give them a voice and have an impact. Specifically, students protested the NRA, called for stricter background checks and the banning of assault weapons.
Hours after the protest, the House passed the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 that reauthorizes a program created in 2001. The program allocated an additional $50 million to better school security, pay for threat assessment teams, help school districts sort through threat reports and create an anonymous reporting system.
The bill does not address firearms, which is one of the main conditions students are asking to be evaluated. Lawmakers are unclear on whether any more gun control legislation will come forward this session with some saying that such an effort wouldn’t pass both houses of Congress and focusing on bipartisan efforts would be more productive. Pro-gun control lawmakers, however, say legislation is in the works.
While some students were not able to participate due to local school district policy or various threats of violence, a mass March for Our Lives is scheduled for March 24 to protest gun violence in Washington, D.C., and other major cities.
[ABC News] [Wall Street Journal] [New York Post] [Washington Post] [HuffPost] [Photo courtesy MAX HERMAN/Getty Images via Mashable]