Students, Teachers and Union Leaders Say Enough is Enough
Thousands of school districts participated in a National Walkout to remember the students lost in Parkland and to call for an end to gun violence
At 10 AM students in schools across the country walked out of their classes to honor a 17-minute vigil for the fallen students at Douglas Stoneman High School.
While some schools expressly forbid their students from taking part in the action, New York City students were encouraged by the Governor and the Mayor. Students at the High School of Public Service and Leadership in lower Manhattan gathered at Zuccotti Park, the former home of Occupy Wall St, to host a “die-in.” They were joined in the park by Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Mike Mulgrew. In St. Paul Minnesota, nearly half of the students at Harding High School marched out into the snow to demand an answer from local elected officials about what they will do to ensure something like this doesn’t happen at their school.
Some school districts threatened students with suspension if they took part in the protest. At Ward Melville High School on Long Island, about 150 students marched out of school in defiance of an order to stand down by the school. As they marched past the security guards tasked with keeping them in the school they chanted “Enough is enough! Enough is enough!” After reading the names of the 17 students who were slaughtered at Douglas Stoneman, the students broke into a chant of “Am I next? Am I next? Am I next?”
“We are proud of Ward Melville students for using their voices to effect change. But isn’t it sad that they have to worry, “Am I next?” said Carl Korn, spokesperson for NYSUT. ““We are also proud of the educators, administrators and school boards who have supported their right to raise their voices in a way that is safe and responsible. This is a critical moment for our country.”
While teachers in most states can’t walk out of class due to anti-striking laws, many still found ways to support their students. In California, the California Teachers Association encouraged their members to send in short videos that let politicians know what they would rather be armed with. This was in response to Trump’s plan to arm teachers throughout the country. Educators in Columbia Missouri supported their students by wearing orange t-shirts that said #neveragain. Many teachers unions encouraged their members to wear orange today to let the students know that they were in support of their action.