Students all over the country are protesting gun violence in the wake of a February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Survivors of the shooting organized a nationwide protest, and students in Washington, D.C. staged a lie-in outside the White House on February 19th. And today, February 20th, the protests continued as Florida students across the state walked out of school.
Students protested in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida. But the largest demonstration took place among students and staff at West Boca Raton Community High School, who marched about 10 miles to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus. The marchers chanted “We want change” as they walked toward the site of the Valentine’s Day massacre, which has been closed since the shooting.
The West Boca protest began as a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting. But according to the Miami Herald, when Principal Craig Sommer ordered the students to return to class after 30 minutes, at least 1,000 students ignored the order and continued on their march.
Sommer eventually abandoned his attempts to call students back to school, telling the Herald, “This is history.”
While the West Boca students marched, students from the Parkland school boarded a bus to Tallahassee, where they were scheduled to meet with Florida state legislators to discuss gun control. Once they arrive, the students will reportedly lobby for a ban on assault rifles like the one that gunman Nikolas Cruz used in the Parkland shooting.
The survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas have repeatedly called for lawmakers to take action in the days following the shooting. They have criticized politicians like Donald Trump for offering his condolences without referencing guns, both on Twitter and in interviews. And their March For Our Lives to call for gun control is scheduled for March 24th in Washington, D.C. It’s apparent that, for these Florida students, now is the time for change. We applaud them, and all protesters nationwide, for standing up for what they believe in. We hope that legislators will finally listen.