Since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida which saw 17 high school students shot to death by a former student,19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, there has been a steady stream of student activism, outcry and protests involving students from around the country calling for stronger gun control and safer schools.
tudents from Ocean City High School are planning a protest on March 14, that will coincide with a planned nationwide walkout.
According to the Women’s March website, “Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout at 10am for 17 minutes — one for every person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“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,” according to the site.
Mary Loteck, a 15 year-old sophomore at Ocean City High School, who is organizing the event, explained that the plan is for students to walk out at 10am and meet on the football field—which is not school property—it’s owned by the city.
“We want to make sure students aren’t just cutting class and that they know what they’re walking out for. Before I asked about punishment, I knew I was going to participate anyway as this movement and the issue is so much bigger than just one of us.”
“When we go into the auditorium, my first instinct should not be to find all the exits.”
“We plan on having 17 minutes of silence for the 17 students killed in Florida. Some students will speak and we plan on having chants to involve everyone. We want everything to be a peaceful protest,” she said.
They also want to have someone come in to talk about registering kids to vote.
The administration seems to be supporting the students and has stated that there would be no punishment for students who join the walkout. Their main concern is for student’s safety. It was unclear whether or not any school administrators or teachers would join the walkout at this time.
But students seem intent on joining the walkout.
“Before I asked about punishment, I knew I was going to participate anyway. I’m angry that it has gone this far, “Loteck said. “Too many lives have been taken, and it seems like no one has done anything until now. I’m angry that people refuse to see that this is a problem and that it is one that no other country has. It’s insane that in three short years I can legally buy a semi-automatic weapon, but I will not be of age to legally buy alcohol. It doesn’t make any sense. Trump, the NRA, and other politicians being funded by the NRA keep trying to point the finger at everything else other than the gun. While sadly there is a huge stigma around mental illness, and it is something that needs to be addressed, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a serious gun issue. We are not trying to take away the Second Amendment, I just don’t see the need for an average person to own a semi-automatic weapon. You hunt animals, you don’t murder them.”
“I’m angry that the generations before me failed to do something about this,” she says. “When we go into the auditorium, my first instinct should not be to find all the exits. I should not have to fear walking into school. I come to school to learn and to become an educated adult that makes the world a better place one day at a time. America is not the best it can be. The first step in fixing any problem is recognizing there is one.”
No word yet on whether or not other schools in the county will be joining them by holding their own walkouts.