Students Participate in School Walkout for Victims of Florida Shooting
Nationwide student-led movement starts in Florida.
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
February 28, 2018
Enough is enough. That’s the message that Florida students had for lawmakers, the media and anyone else who would listen when they staged a walkout on February 20, nearly a week after the massacre at a Florida high school that left 17 dead and 15 injured.
Students from West Boca High School walked the 11 miles from their school to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the terrible tragedy, to express their solidarity with victims as well as their desire for gun control and stricter school safety laws, according to the Sun Sentinel.
These students were just the first of many from Florida schools that plan to stage walkouts in response to the events that unfolded last week. So far, these events have been supported by administrators and county officials alike.
Tracey Clark, spokeswoman for Broward County public schools told the Sun Sentinel, “Over the past few days, it has come to our attention that students are promoting and possibly participating in student-led walkouts and other gatherings. [The district] encourages peaceful and lawful protest only.” The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Broward County Sheriff also monitored the student walkout to ensure the safety of the students, reports The Huffington Post.
Naturally, high school students, their parents and teachers and administrators are concerned for their safety, and these walkouts and marches are building momentum toward a nationwide event that will support the right to attend school safely, according to March for Our Lives.
The big march will take place in Washington D.C. on March 24; however, there are Sister Marches popping up all over the country. Like the Florida high school walkouts, March for Our Lives is a student-led movement that pledges students “will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.”
Though the movement is student-led, the youths behind the event are getting some big-name, adult-sized support. Earlier this week, George and Amal Clooney donated $500,000 to the March for Our Lives organizing efforts in the names of their two twin children, with pledges that the famous couple would also attend the national march in Washington D.C., reports CNN. It wasn’t long before Oprah Winfrey matched the donation. Since then, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw have jumped on board.
Additionally, schools are ensuring that students know they can exercise their right to peacefully protest without risking their chances of college admissions. Boston University, for example, urged students not to worry about their admissions status:
Admission to BU will not be jeopardized should your school levy a penalty for participating in peaceful protests, such as the National School Walkout Day. See Dean of Admissions Kelly A. Walter's full statement here: https://t.co/Xikz3HkClJ @BU_Tweets #StudentsStandUp
— BU Admissions (@ApplyToBU) February 23, 2018
DePaul’s Jon Boeckenstedt reassured students in a tweet:
Dear Students: If you participate in protests against gun violence and incur school discipline for walking out, you can rest assured you can report it to DePaul and we won't hold it against you. #ParklandStudentsSpeak
— Jon Boeckenstedt (@JonBoeckenstedt) February 22, 2018
University of Miami, Smith College, Gettysburg College and many others have followed suit in their support of students voicing their opinions.
UM supports and respects the views of its students and applicants. pic.twitter.com/wlrUy60dub
— Office of Admission (@UMAdmission) February 26, 2018
“Peaceful protest is something that our students do before they arrive at Smith, it’s something that they do while they’re at Smith, and it’s something that they do after Smith."
— Smith College Tweets (@smithcollege) February 23, 2018
— Gettysburg College (@gettysburg) February 26, 2018
To help college admissions departments keep track, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) has created a resource allowing colleges to share policies on disciplinary actions related to activism will be factored into the admission process. More than 200 colleges and universities have already added their information to NACAC’s directory.
In the face of tragedy, these students are using their voices to create dialogue about real change that affects the safety of schools all over the country. What’s more, they’re providing a platform and a space to get anyone and everyone involved.
For information on a March for Our Lives event in your area of the country, visit the March for Our Lives Facebook page.
Need Money to Pay for College?
Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants, and internships, for which they actually qualify. You'll find high value scholarships like VIP Voice's $5,000 Scholarship, and easy to enter scholarships like Niche $2,000 No Essay Scholarship, and internships with companies like Apple, Google, Dreamworks, and even NASA!