By Kylie Potter
All across the country, students have been planning several “walkouts” due to the recent mass school shooting in Florida on Wednesday, February 14th. On Tuesday, February 20th, the Florida state House declined to pass a ban on semiautomatic guns and large capacity magazines. Florida students planned a walkout on Wednesday, February 21st at noon to combat this decision and put pressure on Congress to pass more gun reform, but their determination has spread across the country and pushed other students to do the same. On February 21st at Hammond, many students participated in the walkout and contributed to the protests against gun violence sweeping the nation.
Students gathered in front of Hammond to make their voices heard and stand in solidarity with the victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Some students held up signs, and others gave speeches about the severity of the situation and what they believe needs to be done to fix it. There was also a moment of silence in memory of the 17 victims that were murdered in the shooting.
When asked what he thought the walkout on Wednesday would accomplish, senior Charles Bowers stated that he hoped it would “Bring schools together and bring understanding to why things are done, and help people state their feelings so they won’t act violently towards others.”
Most Hammond students that participated in the walkout felt that it was a successful event. Many believe that walkouts like this are beginning to spark change regarding gun control and reform in the U.S.
“Everyone took it very seriously and professionally, and I would participate in [another walkout] in the future,” remarked Skylar Shaffer, a freshman at Hammond. She added that other students across the country may feel so strongly about this issue because “We don’t want to be next, I don’t think anyone wants to be next, and that’s the most important part of it. I don’t personally care how they change [gun reform], but they need to do something.”
Additional walkouts and marches to protest gun violence are scheduled in March and April, both of which have already garnered immense support from students across the country.