How Our School’s Walkout Reflects the Nationwide Crisis of Gun Control and School Violence

Alex Luna

On March 14th, at precisely 10 AM, Brewster High School students participated in the National School Walkout for gun control and common sense. Many other schools in the county and all across the country took part in this walkout, at the same exact time, in response to the many mass shootings that have taken place over the past several years, and specifically, in response to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that claimed the lives of two staff members and fifteen students. Regardless of the way individuals were feeling about the issue, whether calling for greater restrictions on guns or increasing the presence of firearms, the message of the people to our government was simple: Enough is enough. Do SOMETHING.

Roughly 200+ people showed up to participate. For seventeen minutes, one for each of the people slain in Florida, the student presenters spoke about the Stone Douglas High School victims, while a silent crowd looked attentively on for the entirety of the event. Roses were held by presenters to represent the individual victims, and posters were held as well, showing the names of ea

ch victim. Other signs were held by individuals in the crowd, with messages such as “This has to stop NOW ” and “I don’t want to feel scared in my own school.”

While this event lasted only for a fraction of a day, the message still rings on as students, teachers, parents, and onlookers have had enough of the rampant number of shootings going on across America. We will no longer stand idly by as these acts of violence continue. Instead, taking action and making our voices heard from East to West coast, students speak all the way to the offices of the White House.

Though the U.S. makes up only 4.4% of the world’s total population, it

accounts for roughly 42% of all gun violence, according to a 2007 Small Arms Survey. Further to the point, around 90% of Americans agree on “common sense” solutions like universal background checks and longer waiting periods, yet a select few but powerful people stand in the way of this methodology. Although, the second amendment limits the range of gun control laws, with the use of non-violent protests, we can show that this isn’t simply a government restriction problem, but an everyday protection issue.

“We are not ready to sit complacently like waiting sheep for our school to become part of the
statistics. We are standing up because, unlike our politicians that are funded by the National Rifle Association, we have no ulterior motives in trying to generate change. This issue affects us directly. Fear has no place in our schools and we shouldn’t have to come to school and sit here and mentally construct blueprints in our head every single day at the exit points in our school and where we can hide.”
“Together we are generating the change that we want to see. We are following in the footsteps of the direct victims of Parkland, of Columbine, of Las Vegas, of every single
mass shooting that never should have happened.”
– Autumn Gerard
from an interview with Eric Gross for “Spotlight on Brewster Schools” (4-17-18)

After the walkout, students retired to the school library for a day-long forum on school violence.