Thousands of students from schools across the country left class at ten in the morning on Wednesday, March 14 to take a stand on gun violence. This national movement was meant to memorialize the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting and advocate for more stringent gun policies. The organization primarily involved in promoting the walkout was EMPOWER, a division of Women’s March run by adolescents. EMPOWER helped students organize walkouts at their schools by offering tool kits with information on the legal rights of students, steps to logistically organize the event, and respectful ways to ask for sanction from administration.
At Hanover High School, seniors Mikaela Murphy and Maddy Carroll took action to organize a walkout for interested high school students. After Mikaela and Maddy sent out information on Facebook and other social media, Mikaela met with Mr. Paquette to discuss her plan to facilitate a walkout for Hanover students. Mr. Paquette helped Mikaela organize the walkout by planning to ring a bell at 10 AM, the time at which students across the country would leave class that Wednesday. Students and teachers interested in memorializing the lives of those lost to gun violence or hoping to advocate for stricter gun control policies would leave the building under the protection of the Hanover police. Those who were not interested in taking part could meet in the gym under additional adult supervision.
Unfortunately, Hanover Public Schools closed on Wednesday, March 14, due to the snowstorm that week. Though invested Hanover students did not have the opportunity to participate in the nationwide walkout, the efforts of the student body and administration to allow Hanover students to participate were truly inspiring. Not all students and staff wished to participate in the walkout or see changes made to gun laws, but those who did were given the chance to express their views democratically. There is also no shortage of footage of walkouts that did take place that day: thousands of students across the country were able to step out of class to protest gun laws or honor students who died in tragedies such as the Parkland shooting. Students in Boston, whose classes were cancelled that day, still convened to march to the State House and voice their concerns. This past Saturday, March 24, students had another opportunity to voice their opinions on the issue of gun control—cities across the country including Boston and Plymouth participated in the “March for Our Lives” rally to protest current gun policies. Though the American public is certainly not in unanimous agreement about this contentious political issue, it is remarkable to see so many individuals standing up to fight for change.
Andone, Dakin. “What You Need to Know about the National School Walkout.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Mar. 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/us/national-school-walkout-march-14/index.html.
Carissimo, Justin, and Thom Craver. “March for Our Lives 2018 — Live Blog.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 24 Mar. 2018, http://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/march-for-our-lives-2018-03-24-live-stream-updates-today/.
Yee, Vivian, and Alan Blinder. “National School Walkout: Thousands Protest Against Gun Violence Across the U.S.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Mar. 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/us/school-walkout.html
Featured photo from the Boston Herald