Students from Schools across the Suburbs Join the National Walkout against Gun Violence One Month after 17 Were Killed in the Shooting in Parkland, Florida 'We Are Young, and We Are Strong'

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 15, 2018 | Go to article overview

Students from Schools across the Suburbs Join the National Walkout against Gun Violence One Month after 17 Were Killed in the Shooting in Parkland, Florida 'We Are Young, and We Are Strong'


Byline: Daily Herald report

In a remarkable show of unity, thousands of students at high schools across the Chicago area walked out of their classes Wednesday morning to join a nationwide youth protest against gun violence.

Most of the demonstrations began about 10 a.m. They were to last at least 17 minutes, one minute for each of the students and staffers killed one month ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

A common theme was honoring those victims and calling for action to ensure mass shootings at schools never happen again. Many of the demonstrations resembled 1960s-era rallies, with protest signs and student speakers using bullhorns to deliver emotional messages.

At some suburban high schools -- including Libertyville, Mundelein and Lake Park -- administrators supported students' rights to protest and worked to ensure safe, peaceful demonstrations. At others -- including Dundee-Crown, Hampshire and Wauconda high schools -- administrators cited safety concerns in holding indoor events and threatened disciplinary action against any teens who walked out of class or left the building.

Walkouts also took place at some junior high schools, including Robert Frost in Schaumburg.

Neuqua Valley

The student walkout was part rally, part fundraiser -- and it was one of at least five walkouts in the Naperville area.

Organizing students, who estimated 300 of their peers from the school of 3,700 joined the protest, started with speeches and statistics about gun violence, then turned it over to an open mic.

They sold wristbands and T-shirts, too, both in orange -- the color hunters wear to avoid being shot -- and both to raise money for the #NeverAgain campaign against gun violence.

Senior Ariel Zavala estimated students raised nearly $500 from T-shirts, with the slogan "#EnoughisEnough," and $200 from wristbands saying, "We are students. We are victims. We are change."

Senior Kiernan Kelly explained why she walked out, and it has to do with her past. Kelly said she was a middle-schooler in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in late 2012 when a shooter killed 20 children and six adults at the elementary school there.

"I've seen what this tragedy can do to a community," Kelly said, "and I never want it to happen again."

-- Marie Wilson

Barrington

At least a couple hundred students representing both sides of the gun control debate walked off campus for a rally in a downtown park.

Students gathered for 17 minutes on the football stadium field in memory of peers killed in Florida. While many stayed on campus, other students walked to Memorial Park.

Chants of "enough is enough" from students favoring stricter guns laws were met by others shouting "arm our teachers."

Junior Peter Schnaubelt, wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat and holding a U.S. flag and a "More Armed Security = Safer Schools" sign, said he was representing students whose opinions on guns are not commonly heard.

"I guess our big thing is teachers that already have a concealed-carry permit should be able to carry at school," Schnaubelt said.

Senior Syd Bakal called for gun control and an end to bump stocks and assault-style weapon sales as she used a bullhorn to speak to the 200 or so students and others in the park.

"Thank you for all joining me on this journey and the struggle for a better, safer country and school environment to call home," she said, drawing cheers.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials said students who left campus will be marked absent for missed classes. They said the students won't face disciplinary action.

The village of Barrington estimates 1,000 students participated in the campus walkout. Barrington High has about 3,000 students.

-- Bob Susnjara

South Elgin

Senior Promise Ogunleye told hundreds of students gathered to show solidarity with the Parkland, Florida, shooting victims and their families that "Columbine should have been enough. …

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