April 20 walkout marks 19 year anniversary of Columbine

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After another mass school shooting occurred on Feb. 14, teens decided they had enough. Following the tragedy which claimed 17 lives, many students from around the country sprung into action. They began planning nationwide school walkouts to honor the victims of all school shootings, as well as lobby for stricter gun laws.

The growing movement, which is called #NationalSchoolWalkout on social media, urges all high schoolers to participate. Students who choose to participate will walk out of their school from 10 a.m. until 10:17. This walkout was sparked after the Florida shooting, but it is also to remember the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

“It makes it easier for more kids to participate if they don’t feel like they are going to miss class,” junior Phoebe Lesk said. This is one of the main concerns with this walkout.

It is expected that at least 185,000 people will participate in the walkout, which just shows how important this issue is to young Americans. However, issues like student security and absence from class are being discussed.

“I will make accommodations and I believe we are changing the schedules to adapt to that,” math teacher Matt Hemenway said about some concern students have about missing class.

I think it will help the adults realize that the kids actually care about a change, it will help get their voice heard.”

— Noah Kunze

One of the main concerns among students is the time that they will have to take out of class to participate. Many students have been vocal to the fact that 17 minutes can be very hard, or sometimes not possible, to miss. Efforts from schools like Stillwater to accommodate the walkout have garnered praise from some participants, and criticism from others.

“I think they shouldn’t have changed the schedule because the protest is about causing a disturbance and breaking out of the norm to make a statement,” Lesk said.

Many students at Stillwater were disappointed in the way that SAHS planned for the upcoming walkout. They thought that the walkout should have caused an interruption to the typical schedule to emphasise the point of making a change.

“I think it will help the adults realize that the kids actually care about a change, it will help get their voice heard,” junior Noah Kunze said.

One way in which this movement is different than most in history is that it is run by the people who are most threatened by school shooters: the students themselves. The fact that this protest is organized by students give many people hope that it will garner more attention and help to cause stricter gun control.

“The students are in danger and the consequences are on us, so that’s why the students are protesting the adults and the government,” Lesk said.

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