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National Student Walkout Wednesday: What You Need To Know

by Countable | Updated on 3.13.18

What’s the story?

On Wednesday, the one month anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, FL, a National School Walkout is scheduled. According to the youth initiators of the walkout, EMPOWER, there are at least 2,500 walkouts scheduled around the globe, and more than 185,000 students of all ages will be participating.

What is the walkout trying to accomplish?

The initiators of the Walkout have a list of legislative demands:

  • Banning Assault Weapons & High Capacity Magazines / S. 2095

  • Expanding Background Checks to All Gun Sales / S 2009

  • Passing Gun Violence Restraining Order Law / H.R. 2598 / S. 1212

  • Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act / S.1856 / H.R. 1556

These policy demands, they say, are in pursuit of ending all gun violence, not just school shootings:

We demand that Congress enact an immediate resolution declaring gun violence a public health crisis and dedicating federal funding to research solutions and implement violence intervention programs. We demand Congress recognize all forms of gun violence, including violence committed by police.

Not all walkout events are focused on EMPOWER’s demands. Each school is creating a structure and focus to their actions that fits their school community.

What will different schools be doing?

The original idea was for students and teachers to walkout of class at 10 AM in each time zone for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 students that died at Parkland, and then return to class. But, students in different schools are planning different events based on their age and community ethos.

  • Some elementary students will engage in discussions about school safety.

  • Some elementary students will walkout, and gather on school property together.

  • Some districts are discouraging elementary participation, but allowing middle and high schoolers to walkout.

  • Some will hold discussions on the Second Amendment.

  • Some will share poems and other writings about their experience of gun violence.

  • Some will release balloons for each Parkland victim and have a moment of silence.

  • Some will walkout, leave school property, and march in their communities.

  • All are encouraged to tweet out updates at hashtag #Enough.

Do students have a right to protest?

The Supreme Court has ruled that students have First Amendment rights, though schools have the right to discipline students for an unexcused absence if they walkout of class. They can’t, however, provide stricter discipline for a political walkout than for any other unexcused absence.

Students who engage in excessive disruption can be disciplined. EMPOWER is calling for all actions to be non-violent.

Students who do not wish to participate for any reason cannot be penalized for lack of participation.

Adults outside the school community are being discouraged from attending the walkouts for safety reasons, but are being encouraged to wear orange in solidarity.

More student actions are planned for April 20 and March 24, organized by other groups.

What do you think?

Do you support the student walkout? Are there actions you support and others you don’t? Are you walking out? If so, what do you plan to do when you walk out?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(102)
  • Eric
    03/13/2018
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    These children are braver and more heroic than our legislature. Support these students and their mission to secure their safety!

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  • Babs
    03/13/2018
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    We had many walkouts in the “60’s & “70’s when I was in school. And things did change, people changed. We have become complacent and need these young people to wake us all up again and maintain their own awareness of this country and how they want it to be.

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  • BeStrong
    03/13/2018
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    As our government turns its head to avoid doing the right thing, our children continue to bear the burden of keeping school massacres and gun violence in the public eye. It’s breath taking to witness the power of truth in the face of the partisan bickering and relentless cowardice.

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  • PaxAmericana
    03/13/2018
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    I am I High school student myself, but these walkouts are A. Pointless B. Dangerous to student safety and C. Merely being pushed by large liberal organizations to throttle students to worship their political predilections. This is not “student activism.” This is large NGO Liberal activism that is brainwashing our children to be the puppets and mediums for their all-out assault on our second amendment rights!

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  • Jamey
    03/13/2018
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    It seems our current government does not care what their constituents think so maybe showing our future marching in solidarity for needed change can make an impact. I support them wholeheartedly! I support the resistance!!

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  • Joel
    03/13/2018
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    I support the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Like (47)
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  • MFein10
    03/13/2018
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    I am proud to say that I go to a high school with a walkout tomorrow and that I will be walking out myself.

    Like (43)
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  • Nancy
    03/13/2018
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    I support the walkout. The first amendment to the Constitution allows for freedom of speech. When it comes to the second amendment, the first words are “well-regulated”.

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  • Robert
    03/13/2018
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    Stop blaming adults for this act of heroism. This March is of the young people, by the young people, and for all of the people who value living in a world free of fear from being shot at school, in malls, in parks, bars, and on streets. This is a march to uphold the freedom to live out the promise of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They have the courage to stand up for freedom to stay alive, and to confront the political system that has proven to be uncaring, subject to bribery, and immobile. I say confront the bastards who are standing for death and not life. Those politicians who deny the children their right to live in a safe, secure world are on notice that the children are coming and their asses are on the line. The kids are battle tested, battle weary, battle scarred and vocal. And they vote! Their innocence and commitment demand our respect. And this old Marine and Peace Corps volunteer intends to be there for them! Kick ass and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

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  • Steven
    03/13/2018
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    As a parent whohas child in high school and also has friends that have their kids in school ranging from elementary to high school, the last thing I personally want to hear is that either I or somebody else I know, or don't know for that matter, ever has to hear that their child died in a senseless school shooting. I'm proud that my daughter has chosen to participate on her own volition. Change has to start somewhere and this is as good as anywhere

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  • L0u15e.N032L
    03/13/2018
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    Proud of all these students standing up to the corruption from NRA money. Shaming their public officials. The First Amendment in action. Shame on the adult trollers who are uncivilized, rude and unAmerican.

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  • Kyle
    03/13/2018
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    I've never heard of people working so hard give up freedom, to reduce their real political power and influence, decrease our country's readiness and reduce their rights to those of slaves. Do you know how hard the government had to work to take the indians' guns before they could massacre them? And these guys can't throw them away fast enough. In the 20th century governments murdered 88/100k of their own citizens in genocide events compared to only 3/100k killed by civilian gun crime!

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  • Sue
    03/13/2018
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    I agree with the right to free speech. I also agree that you have a right to protect yourself, but not with military style guns. Therefore, I demand that Congress enact an immediate resolution declaring gun violence a public health crisis and dedicating federal funding to research solutions and implement violence intervention programs. I demand Congress recognize all forms of gun violence, including violence committed by police. I demand for universal background checks and closing loopholes for purchasing guns and a 21 years old age to purchase weapons.

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  • JTJ
    03/13/2018
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    Every kid that walks out proves that they are not yet mature enough to think for themselves. They are simply pawns being used to push the liberal agenda. You will never see republicans pulling these kinds of stunts. Shameful.

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  • NotAmused
    03/13/2018
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    Extreme circumstances call for extreme actions. I support high school students in doing what they must to return a sense of safety to their schools. Younger students can walk out with parents if it seems important. Youngsters should certainly be participating in events that expand their knowledge of how government works, and what to do when it doesn’t.

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  • CombatVeteran
    03/14/2018
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    These kids have no idea how the world works. They only know they feel pain and don't realize that what they're doing solves nothing. They haven't experienced half of what life will bring. There are several facts they should know. 1) Exactly ZERO legal gun owners cause this type of mayhem. 2) Restrictions placed on those who had nothing to do with the heinous acts is akin to putting an innocent man in prison for someone else's crimes. 3) Criminals and psychopaths don't follow the law. They never have and never will. 4) AR-15s are NOT military grade weapons, as the left media will have you believe. In fact, they are no different than a hunting rifle in nearly every aspect. They only look different. 4) Our rights will NOT be infringed upon. Live life a little longer before you try to influence the world. Chances are, we've already experienced what you're going through and lived to tell the tale.

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  • Jacky
    03/13/2018
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    It is disheartening to read some of these comments. I’m a gun owner and expect my “normal” guns to remain with me. I do not think think the government has any real effort about taking our rights away or is attempting to disarm all Americans. You don’t have to be a liberal or conservative to understand this. What you do have to understand is how political organizations such as the NRA manipulate weak-minded individuals and feed their irrational fears. As someone once told me...God gave you a brain and in return he expects you to use it. I suggest we all take a step back and a deep breath to fully read and understand every point of view and solutions.

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  • Andy
    03/13/2018
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    Part of the liberal agenda to take Americans rights away and push socialism on America

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  • Roger
    03/13/2018
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    This is a sick display of liberals using kids to push their socialist goals for America. You will see that the few walkouts that occur will mostly be in liberal controlled districts. Congress is working to protect these kids as are State and local authorities. Arming teachers and doing away with gun free zones is going to protect students more than liberal indoctrinated little socialists calling for a removal of the 2nd amendment, which will not happen in their lifetimes. There is less gun violence in America than knives and blunt objects. Those FBI statistics alone show the real desire of liberals in America. Disarmament.

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  • Vince
    03/13/2018
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    Elementary school students??!! High school kids aren't even capable of understanding complex policy issues, much less elementary age kids. It's kind of why there are age limits for voting (but a lot of people on the left even want to lower that to 16 for more votes)....kids don't know anything and just about every kid's views change by the time they are an adult and are capable of rational thought. Do YOU have all the same views you did when you were a teenager? Anyway, yes of course I support everyone's rights to protest but I think the elementary kids are being used as a prop even moreso then the teenagers. Another thing, why is everyone all over this 21 age limit for rifles? What will that change? All it means is that we expect 18 year old boys to go to the middle east and shoot a full auto at people that are defending their home from invaders, but two years later when he gets home he somehow isn't old enough to defend himself and his family. Oh what progressive policy.

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