On Wednesday, a wave of demonstrations took over the country reaching from Arizona to Maine, students at dozens of U.S. high schools walked out of class to protest gun violence and honor the victims of last week’s deadly shooting in Florida. Students shared plans for their demonstrations over social media, in which many lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
In Maryland, hundreds of students from left class to rally at the U.S. Capitol and more filed out of their schools in cities from Chicago to Pittsburgh to Austin, Texas, often at the lunch hour. Thousands more walked out in Florida. Students held a moment of silence during the protest in Washington, to honor the memory of those killed in Parkland and listened as the names of the dead were recited.
According to WRAL News, at Dublin Scioto High School near Columbus, Ohio, about 200 students sat outside in silence for 17 minutes and wrote notes of support that will be mailed to survivors of the Florida shooting. Afterward, they discussed how they could push for stronger gun control.
While some groups have worked to organize national demonstrations in the coming weeks, students say gatherings Wednesday were mostly impromptu and organized out of a sense of urgency to find solutions to gun violence. Although principals at some schools allowed the protests and promised not to punish students for leaving class, some districts threatened to discipline those who joined the wave of walkouts.
On Thursday, students at UNC Chapel Hill are expected to rally together to prevent gun violence, also in honor of those who lost their lives in last week’s deadly school shooting in Florida.
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