Erie Schools Participate in the National Walkout

It’s been a little over one month since the horrific shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. Since then, the debate on gun violence has been at the forefront of many media outlets and a major topic on social media. Many of these debates and conversations have been started by students who are concerned for the future of the country and the very likely possibility of more events like this happening with the current regulations (or lack thereof) of firearms in America.

 

 

March 14th, one month after the event, thousands of students and teachers across the country walked out of school for 17 minutes (one minute for every student killed at Stoneman Douglas). Many of these demonstrations were student lead and organized. Morgan Williams, an 18-year-old senior at McDowell High School here in Erie was one of the students who planned and organized the walkout at her 2000+ student school. She also attended the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C on the 24th with multiple students from around the Erie area.

 

What inspired you to bring the national walkout to your school?

“As soon as I saw the call for the March 14th walkout, I was on board and started planning.  I felt like I needed to do something; as a student, as an activist, and as someone who saw the pain in the students of Parkland's voices in the days following the shooting. I knew I had to do something.”

 

 

Was there a pushback from people unwilling to participate/against the cause? How did you handle that?

“For the most part, those who had problems with the walkout in the weeks leading up to the demonstration kept to themselves about it.  A few times, I overheard people talking about it with concern, or negatively, and I would ask them if they had any questions about it. I'm very happy that the majority of the discussion regarding the walkout was rooted in support.”

 

How have people reacted in the days following the event? Do you think this will prompt other schoolwide demonstrations?

“Since the walkout, there have been lots of discussions occurring in the school.  I'll walk down the halls and hear fragments of conversations, mentioning, "Parkland", "gun control", and so on.  I've had people come up to me who differ from me completely when it comes to political stance and thank me for organizing an event that brought us all together.  That's really what hit me most, knowing that in an issue that divides so many people, a community could be united, even if it was only for 17 minutes. I think that in successfully having a peaceful, respectful, nonpolitical demonstration at our school, it'll hopefully open the door for students after me to do something like this again.  At least, I hope so.”

 

 

What was it like to experience the walkout take place? Were there any things that went wrong?

“Before the walkout, I was very nervous.  Normal nerves, but there was also a small threat made for the day of the march at my school, which ended up being an empty threat.  A lot of kids didn't show up to school that day because of that threat.”

 

Students all over the world are rallying for stricter gun laws and Erie, PA has not been excluded in this ever-growing campaign.

 

 

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