On Wednesday, March 14, tens of thousands of students stood up and walked out of classrooms across the United States. They were participating in the National School Walkout, a demonstration to protest gun violence and demand new gun control measures. The first protests started at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Other students across the country walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. in their local time zones.
The walkouts marked the one-month anniversary of a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. On February 14, a 19-year-old former student attacked students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 14 students and 3 adults before he was caught and arrested. Wednesday’s protests lasted 17 minutes—one minute of remembrance for each of the 17 people who died in Parkland.
Each year, more than 30,000 people are killed by guns in the United States. Some of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, including the one in Parkland, have taken place within the last year. Americans across the country are calling on their leaders to do more to stop gun violence.
Some of the loudest activists have been students from Stoneman Douglas. They’ve held rallies, given TV interviews, and spread their message on social media. Students are inspiring other teens and many adults across the country to join them in protesting gun violence.
“Students don’t get to voice their opinion very often, and it’s thrilling to be one of the millions across the United States who will have that option,” Katie Cummins told The New York Times. She is a high school student in Louisville, Kentucky, who participated in Wednesday’s walkout. “The students at Stoneman Douglas who have spoken out and become activists are incredibly inspiring.”