April walkout smaller, but guns still on teens’ minds

Emily Reilly, Staff Writer

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April 20th was a National School Walkout day protesting for stricter gun laws and a push for general safety in school environments. The date was specifically chosen to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting that occurred on April 20th, 1999. It was originally planned to happen at 10 am.

Walkouts for this purpose have risen in popularity in light of the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Many schools in the Chicagoland area participated in the event, such as Naperville Central, West Aurora, River Forest, and more.

With signs, chants, and determined activism, students all over the nation marched for their beliefs on gun control. This was the second school walkout day following the one on March 14th– which took place exactly a month after the Parkland shooting.

A number of Lake Park students at both East and West campus participated in the peaceful protest for 17 minutes in honor of the victims of Parkland on March 14th, however; zero students walked out on the April 20th National Walkout day. So, what changed?

“The school plays no part in the walkouts” said Associate Principal,Tim Noverini. “It’s driven by the students–we can’t promote or participate in it. Because March 14th was a seventeen minute walk out, it was easier to adjust the schedule to where it wouldn’t disrupt our learning environment. The April 20th walk out was planned to take the entire day, so the natural consequence for the students would’ve been an unexcused absence for the classes missed.”

The main reason as to why very few walked out the second time were the greater consequences that would follow walking out for almost five periods rather than seventeen minutes of class. Students wouldn’t be protected from a class cut if they were to walk out on April 20th.

“I think more students decided to walk out on March 14th because the school didn’t have as harsh of consequences for it and it was more of a memorial for the Parkland victims,” said Emilie Kroner, senior, who participated in the March 14th walk out.

Although the April 20th walkout was not as effective as the one prior, Lake Park’s strong activism seen in the students over the last few months has been impactful through the entire community.

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April walkout smaller, but guns still on teens’ minds