Sumter students participate in National Walkout Day


The three schools have about 4,500 students enrolled.

Students around the country walked out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. Wednesday to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation and to honor the lives of the 17 victims of the February 14 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

While schools differed in their responses to the protests, the School District of Philadelphia released a letter stating that it did not support student walkouts, but added that schools would not prevent or punish participation.

Antioch High School senior Fares Ali is frustrated that the violence overshadowed what was supposed to be a protest pushing for tougher gun laws and a time to honor the Parkland victims. "Some people don't have parents because of gun violence", one student said.

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Student organizer Cory Sauers helped lead the walkout and believes that students can lead the change that society needs.

Once inside the statehouse, students held a rally as a handful of lawmakers listened.

"When I learned about the shooting, I was so sad", said eighth-grade student Miranda Morrison.

Students at Jewish day schools offered prayers, lit candles and demanded change as part of a nationwide student walkout calling for gun reform in the wake of last month's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. We've already seen more change after Stoneman Douglas than any other mass shooting (such as the school safety bill Governor Scott recently signed), and we're demanding more change.

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Some posted in support of the students who participated, while others were in strong opposition to the walkout, pointing to bullying and mental illness as root causes of school shootings rather than guns. "LGBTQ students have been sent home for expressing their sexual orientation, and girls have been disciplined when they challenge gendered uniform policies". "And we needed to give them that avenue, and to give them an opportunity to speak through silence". She said a lot of her friends are -registered to vote or planning to register as soon as they are able.

"We must ensure that our schools are supportive, welcoming, and safe", Sylvia Torres-Guillén, director of education equity for the ACLU of California, said in the statewide advisory.

Student organizers held a memorial for the victims and called for gun control legislation during a protest of about 1,000 students on the school football field. Some on social media accused them of having guns and called them "ignorant" and "apes".

When asked about the goal behind the walkout, central participant Susy Correa said, "Our generation needs to be the catalyst for change, sure there have been protests and different rallies and we're getting riled up, but every voice counts and even if you're the only person standing, do it, stand in the crowd of sitting people". Students organized an attempt on Thursday morning.

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The walkout itself went smoothly for the most part, although Reed said there were some who he said were disrespectful, preferring to talk to each other or on their cell phones annoying the people around them.