By Oscar Wolfe
As you probably know, there have been many mass shootings in schools, the most recent of which occurred at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Unlike many of the other school shootings, where the survivors did not really take any political action (understandably), the survivors of the Parkland shooting are now lobbying on a national stage for increased gun control.
Now, thanks to these inspirational teens, schools all around America are planning a National School Walkout at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14. This walkout is to raise more awareness for the pressing issue of our need for tighter gun control laws. My classmates and I want to feel safe at school. And it’s going to be hard for gun-rights politicians to ignore this issue if every school in America suddenly walks out all at once.
My school, even though it’s just a junior high, is taking part in this walkout. Since I am so interested and passionate about this issue, I have become a walkout and gun control advocate at my school. My junior high is teaming up with the high school to make one huge walkout. The walkout will last for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of the Parkland shooting. In fact, the walkout has become so big that my school has announced that it will not be penalizing students for leaving class for the walkout.
I know some people may say that this is ridiculous and that leaving class should have consequences, regardless the circumstances. But I would disagree with this. School is meant to educate kids on how to live in the real world. School is meant to teach kids how to have a voice, how to express our opinions. And this is exactly that. What would be the point of telling kids to express their opinions and then punish them for doing just that?
Another issue some people may have with this walkout is that they don’t think it will even have a real effect. Well, I would disagree with that too. The planned walkout has already gotten so much awareness for the cause. I probably wouldn’t even be writing this if it wasn’t happening. And the walkout is having real political effects too. Just look at how much influence the NRA has lost recently. Politicians are finally listening to students. Students have voices, and the walkout is a perfect opportunity to use them.
If you want to know more about the National School Walkout, here are some great articles:
The Atlantic: How Parkland Students Changed the Gun Debate
Lakeshore Weekly News: Students Behind the West Metro Walkout Say 17 Minutes Can Make a Difference