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What you need to know about the national school walkout

Somerville High School junior Megan Barnes marches with others during a Feb. 28 student walkout at the school in Somerville, Mass. A large-scale, coordinated demonstration is planned for Wednesday, March 14, when organizers have called for a 17-minute school walkout nationwide to protest gun violence.
Somerville High School junior Megan Barnes marches with others during a Feb. 28 student walkout at the school in Somerville, Mass. A large-scale, coordinated demonstration is planned for Wednesday, March 14, when organizers have called for a 17-minute school walkout nationwide to protest gun violence. The Boston Globe

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of high school and university students plan to walk out of classes across the nation to protest gun violence. Here’s the rundown on what’s going on:

What is it?

The nationwide protest will honor the lives lost in a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and press legislators to pass stronger gun laws, according to EMPOWER, the group organizing the action using the hashtag #ENOUGH.

Their proposals include banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, expanding background checks to all gun sales, and opposing any legislation that “would aim to fortify our schools with more guns.”

When is it?

The walkout is designed to take place at 10 a.m. local time Wednesday, March 14, which is one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. It will last 17 minutes to honor the 17 people killed in the attack.

Who’s participating?

Students, teachers and staff at all U.S. schools and universities are invited to participate. The idea originated with EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March. The organization, which provides tool kits to students hoping to organize a walkout at their school, says more than 2,500 walkouts are planned.

EMPOWER asks that anyone not affiliated with a school stay away from the walkouts because of safety concerns, but suggests those wishing to show solidarity with students wear orange or walk out of their workplaces for 17 minutes.

How are schools reacting?

Some schools and universities are welcoming the walkout, pledging that students will not be punished for taking part. But others say students could face detention or other penalties for leaving class.

What’s next?

A “March for our Lives” protest will be held March 24, with the main event in Washington, D.C., and satellite marches across the United States and overseas. Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School helped organize the march to pressure Congress to pass stricter gun laws.

Students from Carroll Senior High School, Carroll High School, Dawson Middle and Carroll Middle recently participated in the protests to call attention to school safety. The student-led protest, which began about 10 a.m., lasted for 17 minutes to

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