Friday, April 20, 2018

Thousands of Students Participate in National School Walkout

The Associated Press reports: 

Students from hundreds of schools across the country began a wave of walkouts Friday morning in a unified voice for tougher gun laws.

The protests come on the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School, which left 13 people dead in Littleton, Colo., energized the gun-control debate and became a haunting symbol of gun violence in schools.

The students -- many not even born when Columbine occurred -- represent more than 2,600 schools that were holding moments of silence in honor of the victims as well as the 17 people killed during the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. The deaths prompted national protests demanding change.

On Capitol Hill, students from the Washington, D.C., area marched while chanting, "Congress do your job!" and "Not one more!" to put pressure on lawmakers who have stalled in enacting gun-safety measures.

In Atlanta, students from the area were marching to the state Capitol. "I’m angry," said Ann Philip, a high school sophomore, "but I'm motivated."

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, died during the Parkland massacre, praised the students for walking out, and said all they want is common-sense gun reform that includes background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

"The reason they're rising up is they want to be able to go out in public and not live in fear," Guttenberg told MSNBC.

Yet even as students on Friday headed to rallies at their statehouses or planned to stay at their schools to discuss gun violence, other communities weren't immune from the scourge: Police in Ocala, Fla., reported that one student shot another in the ankle at a local high school. Forest High School was put on lockdown and the injured student was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Police said the suspected shooter was also a student at the school.

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