A new movement may soon disrupt school days all over the nation as students, staff and faculty around the country plan to walk out of classes in the middle of the day to take a stand against gun violence.
Women’s March Youth Empower began promoting a National School Walkout day on Feb. 15, just one day after the Parkland, Florida shooting. The event is set to take place March 14.
On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz conducted a mass shooting in Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and 14 wounded. The walkout day is intended to protest gun violence and pay homage to those affected by the shooting.
The group hopes to encourage students, teachers and parents to walk out of classes at 10 a.m. to motivate U.S. Congress to create tighter firearm laws.
Occurring on the one month anniversary of the most recent school shooting, the walkout will last 17 minutes in honor of the 17 lives lost in Parkland.
Although administration of Cal State Long Beach did not formally declare its participation in the movement, President Jane Close Conoley sent a message out to the campus community March 5, supporting the endeavor to establish gun reform.
“Perhaps members of our Beach community might find it in their hearts to amplify efforts by these children [Parkland survivors] to save themselves,” Conoley said.
Nevertheless, Michelle Stonis, lecturer of history at Cal State Long Beach, is planning to participate by walking out alongside the students on campus, even though she doesn’t have class that day.
“The issues of school safety and gun reform are at the forefront of my mind as an educator, parent and citizen,” Stonis said.
Students reactions have been ambivalent on whether or not to participate in the movement.
Elizabeth Olague, a sociology major, encourages all campus advocates for gun control to participate in the event.
“If you think that it’s a good idea and you want to walk and protest, then you should [walkout],” Olague said. “As for students that don’t walk out, do your research and really think about if you should or shouldn’t.
Louie Perez, aerospace engineering senior, said that while the walkout will bring attention to the problem, it won’t do much in the long run.
“I feel like no matter how many times we go and coordinate events like this, it’s not enough to actually cause a change,” Perez said.
This effort preludes the student-led march happening March 24 in Washington D.C., which aims to raise awareness against gun violence.
Although multiple schools across the nation have registered to participate, there may be consequences in certain schools for those who choose to take part in the event.
Psychology senior Santana Chavez said that she would join the march if there were a lot of students in an organized group and media present to make the most impact.
“I’m not sure if I would walk to class, stand up by myself and then walk out if nobody was doing it,” Chavez said. “One person doing it isn’t really a movement.”
Citizens, who are interested in organizing a walkout in their local community, are able to register at the Women’s March Youth website.