Hundreds of Northwood students united in their protest against gun violence and in support of the victims of school shootings by participating in the National School Walkout on March 14 at 10 a.m.
The walkout featured chants and posters advocating for gun reforms. Participants marched along a route around the school and took a moment of silence to stand in solidarity with the 17 victims of gun violence at the Parkland school shooting. Juniors Sophie Grossman, Estelle Lee and Nolan Kim took the completely student-organized event as an opportunity to vocalize their beliefs and advocate for change by giving speeches at the Oak.
“I wanted to plan and participate in this walkout because change never occurred without cooperation and communication,” Grossman said. “With the passion and support from the student body, I knew Northwood had the capability to really convey a message and participate in the movement against gun violence.”
Originally, students were to walk out of their first period classes to protest. However, administration changed March 14’s Wednesday schedule to reflect a Tuesday/Thursday tutorial schedule so that the walkout would not interrupt instructional time.
“The schedule change largely defeated the purpose of the walkout, which had already lost some of its significance since the ‘walkout’ didn’t leave school grounds,” sophomore Ellen Wang said. “A school-wide walkout was turned into a group of kids marching around the campus during tutorial.”
Every high school in IUSD participated in the nationwide walkout. Students had a range of motivations for participating, from honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting to advocating for change in government policies.
“The walkout is a platform for students like ourselves to take a stand against the government,” sophomore Sasha Anand said. “It may not be legal change yet, but it definitely creates the discourse necessary to move towards it.”
For nearly 30 students, 20 minutes was not enough to make a statement. They remained outside by the Oak for the entirety of third period to support the cause and received detentions as a consequence.
While hundreds chose to participate in support of ending gun violence, some students remained neutral on the issue or believed that walking out would not make an impact, while others represented their own views by protesting the walkout.
“The walkout was originally supposed to be in support of the people of the high school in Florida,” sophomore Ethan Sloate said. “The reason I did not participate is because people pushed their agendas onto it and made it super political.”
Although there may be controversy over the effectiveness of the walkout, students hope to continue advocating for change.
Orange County marched to support the active movement against gun violence at schools on March 24 during March For Our Lives, an almost completely student-led effort.