Why you should participate in the upcoming school walkouts

Note: The story has been edited to reflect that the seventeen deaths at Stoneman Douglas included both students and teachers.

Since the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012, there have been 186 school shootings in the US. Dozens of students and teachers have been murdered in cold blood due to a lack of effective gun control, and these massacres will only continue.

We, the Gargoyle staff, are horrified by these tragedies, which have become an almost normal occurrence. We have the right to come to school each day knowing that we are in a safe environment where we won’t be shot and killed in class. We have the right to an education without violence, and in order to assert this right we must advocate for stricter gun control.

You may have heard of the two upcoming school walkouts. On March 14 at 10 a.m., students across the nation will walk out of classes for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 students and teachers that were killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

At Uni, these 17 minutes will be a time of silence to remember the innocent people, including high school students like us, who were murdered. We will gather in the courtyard space between Uni and Uni Gym. If you have a U of I class or a class in Kenney, be sure to leave early so that you can be in the courtyard by 10 a.m.

Please remember that this a respectful service in memory of the students who lost their lives at Stoneman Douglas High. Both walkout days will be completely student-led and participation is optional. The walkout on March 14 will be a memorial to the students who were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and the walkout on April 20 will be a protest and educational event.

On April 20, there will be a second walkout that lasts the whole day. It will be focused on advocating for gun reform. This event is still in the works, but it will also be student-led and all students are encouraged to join.

You may be asking, What if I’d like to participate, but my teacher has planned a test that’s worth 50 points on a walkout day?

If the administration decides that this absence will be unexcused (and this has not been decided yet), you will not be allowed to make this work up. You may get a bad grade.

Grades are heavily emphasized at Uni, but we believe the cause you would be contributing to is more important than a grade. Children continue to lose their lives to gun violence on a near-daily basis. It is not too much to ask to sacrifice a good grade for such a pressing cause that affects so many students.

Many colleges have also stated their support for this movement, and they will not consider any consequences you may face for participating. The Common App also includes a section where you can specify the cause for grade disparities you may face.

You may also be concerned about how your parents will react if you walk out of school.

We recommend you talk to your parents about these walkouts. Keep them informed about the purpose, important details, and possible repercussions you may face. If your parents object, stress the importance of our fight. Remind them that unless we do something, you could be the next kid killed at school.

If your parents are still adamant that you not participate, and you can’t change their minds, there are other ways to demonstrate your support. On the days of the walkout, we will be wearing orange to show solidarity. Anyone can do this, even if they can’t walk out themselves.

We strongly believe that all students should participate in the walkouts because schools across the United States have been deeply affected and threatened by gun violence. Now is the time to make a difference and protect our schools, our rights, and our lives.


For more details about the walkout, read Anika’s article here: