One month after a mass shooting broke out at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, thousands of students left their classrooms today to make their voices heard.
The National School Walkout honored the victims of one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history and rallied together students and teachers against gun violence.
At 10:00 a.m. Tuesday of every local time zone—beginning at Eastern Standard Time—students and administrators from across the country walked out of their classrooms for 17 minutes, representing each of the 17 people who were killed by the mass shooter in Parkland, as USA Today reported.
Browse photos from National School Walkout Day, then read five important facts.
Students Are Protesting Gun Violence
The National School Walkout is a direct response to the massacre in Parkland. With the theme "Enough," the National School Walkout is being organized by the group who shaped the Women's March. “Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school,” said the organizers in a statement. “Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.”
Parkland Students Are At The Forefront
The National School Walkout is getting support from celebrities and politicians. However, it's the students who survived the Parkland shooting that are at its forefront. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who have since returned to school, have been outspoken on social media and shown their support for the movement they inspired. "Good Luck, Stay Safe, and Kick B*tt to all those walking out of school today," tweeted Emma Gonzalez, a student who has become an outspoken activist following the shooting.
The National School Walkout was conceived in America but it has been embraced by schools across the globe.
The walkout was seen in Parkland, New York City, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Washington, D.C. and other American cities. Hours before American students walked out, students in places like Tanzania, Israel and Iceland joined them in solidarity, reports CNN.
Students Are Taking A Risk
Students are taking a risk by participating in the National School Walkout. Some schools have openly threatened to suspend or reprimand those that leave, citing reasons like "unexcused absence." Many colleges and universities, however, have countered this sentiment. Institutions like Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Dartmouth said that they will support the protest and will not rescind acceptances for those students.
It's Not The Only Walkout
The National School Walkout is not the only protest being planned. Another walkout, March for Our Lives, is slated for March 24. On that day, children and families are taking to the streets of Washington, D.C. to demand that lawmakers enact policies to end gun violence and mass shootings. Students in the area have already come together to orchestrate a support network, including opening up their homes for those that need accommodations, for students joining that march.
[Photo: Getty Images]