What You Need to Know About the Student Walkout to End Gun Violence

Why local students will leave their classrooms at 10 a.m. this morning — and why the School District of Philadelphia will support them.


parkland shooting, march for our lives, walkout

PARKLAND FL – FEBRUARY 23: Students visit memorial for Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting victims on February 23, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX

Students in Philadelphia and across the country will participate in a 17-minute walkout on Wednesday in protest of federal lawmakers’ hesitancy to pass tougher gun laws.

The public action comes exactly a month after 17 people were shot and killed by a 19-year-old gunman at a Parkland, Fla., high school — one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history.

The walkout, led by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. It’s being organized on social media under the hashtags #NationalWalkoutDay and #Enough.

Students will stand outside for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting. Some will also stand for an 18th minute, in honor of 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington, who was shot and killed inside Huffman High School in Birmingham, Ala. last week. Others, like students at Philly’s Freire Charter School, plan to read aloud the names of victims of gun violence in their own communities.

On Tuesday, we spoke to seven local students about why they were participating in the protest. One student, Freire Charter School junior Nafir Royal, said, “Because thoughts and prayers and condolences are not enough anymore. People are ignorant. We need action. There is power in numbers.”

The School District of Philadelphia has said that it will support students who participate in the walkout.

“We support student’s rights to self-expression and awareness of social issues,” superintendent Dr. William Hite wrote in a letter to principals this month. “Please remind students to be respectful of students on campus who may not wish to participate, and/or students who may hold opposing views to those shared during the event.”

“As a reminder, should students choose to walk-out, discipline should not be imposed,” he added.