In the wake of the horrific Parkland shooting, students—many of whom are too young to vote—have dedicated themselves to political activism to prevent another gun-related national tragedy. They’ve called out politicians who seem to favor the NRA’s money over student safety. They’ve taken to Twitter and TV to plead for common sense gun reform. And today, students across the United States joined together for #nationalschoolwalkout. They left class to protest for 17 minutes, each minute symbolizing the life of one person killed in the Parkland tragedy. And their message spread like wildfire across Twitter.
In the last few hours, these kids from Freeport decided a school snow day was not going to stand in the way of their participation in #NationalSchoolWalkout @newscentermaine pic.twitter.com/7SuGlnLv6V— Katie Bavoso (@KatieBavoso) March 14, 2018
It is freezing cold and these 60+ elementary school protesters are lying completely still, and no one is making a sound, just the posters flapping a little over their bodies. Alexandria, Virginia. pic.twitter.com/6OI0GHbdQN— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) March 14, 2018
A lot of the signs the student protesters held were equal parts clever and heartbreaking.
This kid was the only one to walk out of his school, but his protest didn’t go unnoticed. It went viral. Justin got retweeted by Patton Oswalt, who wrote: “Everyone counts, Justin. We’re with you. #NationalSchoolWalkout”
Meanwhile, Trump’s proposed plan of arming teachers came under fire again, this time because of a story that feels like it should be an Onion headline: a teacher accidentally shot off his gun during a public safety class, and injured a student.
Online plenty of liberal politicians and celebrities showed support of these students who are literally fighting for their lives with this movement. But some of the most valuable words came from U.S. Representative John Lewis, who was one of the leaders of the historic March on Washington, which advocated with equal rights for African-Americans. He reminded students who were facing threats of detention, suspension and other disciplinary reprisals:
Sometimes you have to get in trouble—good trouble, necessary trouble—to make a way out of no way.— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) March 14, 2018
It’s a strange, sad day to be an adult in America. We’ve let these children down. And they are taking to the streets to scream for us to behave like goddamn grown-ups and protect them. We here at Pajiba are proud of every single student who participated in the National School Walkout, and we’re deeply sorry it’s come to this point. We (looking at you grown-ups who damn well better be voting this fall and calling your representatives on the regular) have got to do better.