Nationwide youth rises up

Students across the nation take a stand against gun violence

On Mar 14th, schools across the nation participated in a walkout in support of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to advocate for school safety against gun violence.

Several high schools in neighboring districts participated in the walkout, including Loyola, Niles West, Evanston Township High School (ETHS), Northshore Country Day, Glenbrook South (GBS), and Stevenson.

The number of students who participated in the walkout varied at each school. Students at Glenbrook South reported 800-1000 participants out of the 2,972 students are enrolled.  The Chicago Tribune reported 500 participants out of the 2,500 students enrolled.

Loyola senior, a  lead organizer of his school walkout, Jonas Madison said, “Three hundred students had a vigil in the chapel, while around twelve hundred [participated in the walkout].”

ETHS senior and participant Elizabeth Sperti reported that almost every student participated her school’s walkout. “I think we’re already aware of these issues and it was not remotely surprising or groundbreaking for the students to organize such an event and for the administration to support it,” said Sperti.

Administrations seemed to be generally supportive of the walkout.

“Our administration told us that they were on board, but they moved to restrict the movement to what they wanted it to be,” said Madison, “The administration was explicit that they never took political stances.”

Students at Stevenson, Glenbrook South, and ETHS reported that there were no administrative consequences for participating in the walkout.

Many of the student organizations made speeches or provided activities during the walkout.

At ETHS, students were given sheets with representatives’ phone numbers on them.

“The final speech encouraged students to call a number from a sheet they handed out when students were walking to the field. On the back of the sheet there was a template for students to follow if they wished,” said Sperti, “There was a period of time where hundreds of students called the representatives right there in the bleachers.

Even after the walkout, students were encouraged to continue advocating for their beliefs.

ABC News reported on Hillcrest High School in Idaho Falls, saying how counter protesters verbally attacked student protesters and leaders.

Regardless of the support, or lack thereof, there was a consensus of student activism and a rise of student power last Wednesday.

“Our school loves to describe itself as “committed to doing justice,” but there were never any outlets for actual justice until this movement,” said Jonas. “This was a walkout for Florida, yes, but many students made it about all victims of gun violence, to try and end it.”