Thousands of students across the country stood up from their seats and left their classrooms yesterday at 10 am in support of the growing protest movement over gun violence. Exactly a month after the Florida shooting where Nikolas Cruz shot and killed fourteen students and three teachers, the Florida student survivors have not allowed their story to be another that was simply swept under the rug and forgotten like past school shootings.
The students have taken to twitter, instagram, and their interviews and speeches have been aired on countless news stations to make their voices and concerns heard to the millions who are willing to listen, and they’re just getting started.
Fox News said, “The coordinated walkouts were loosely organized by Empower, the youth wing of the Women's March, which brought hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to Washington, D.C., last year. The group urged students to leave class at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes -- one minute for each victim in the Florida shooting -- and suggested demands for lawmakers, including an assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun sales.”
Students are tired of the topic of their safety being left behind once a bigger news story comes along to overshadow the incident of a school shooting. This is why Senior Grace Gilliam and Junior Abby Jent organized a location across the street with teachers, officers, and administrators present, to pay their respects to those who passed in the shooting and to take a stand to make sure an incident like this never happens again.
Students from Farmington High School left their classes at 10 a.m. yesterday morning and walked across Black Knight Drive to the Centene Center where three Senior students, Grace Gilliam, Kaia Schott, and Mariam Burnette, chose to take to the stage to share their feelings on the matter.
After their collective 10 minute statements, there were seven minutes left where students could talk amongst themselves on the matter and some even took to the stage to share their thoughts also.
I caught up with one of the speakers, Kaia Schott, 18, a Senior at Farmington High School to ask her why she chose to stand up and speak today. She says it is something she feels passionately about and that the Parkland shooting is, “... the straw that broke the camel's back and I’ve been having nightmares ever since then.” Kaia thinks that todays walkout will make a change, but she is also not oblivious to the fact that some people are not receptive to an opposing view, but says, “I try to keep what I say neutral, so that hopefully it will be receptive and not seem like I’m attacking them personally.”
Students might have gone back to the classroom, but the conversations have not ended. Students across the country demand more than thoughts and prayers from our elected officials and lawmakers. We demand change.