Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 13
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Walkout Takes Aim
At Gun Violence
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ticipation in protests across the United States.
The consortium's estimated range for
the crowd at the 2017 Women's March
in Washington was 500,000 to 1 million,
which is below the high estimates of organizers of as many as 4 million participants.
High Interest Level
Pressman said he could not hazard a
guess as to how many students and others would turn out for the March for Our
Lives. But he says that the energy level of
protests against President Donald Trump
has remained high.
The 2017 Women's Marches nationally drew
a range of 3.3 million to 5.2 million, while
the anniversary Women's Marches across
the country this past January drew a smaller
but still robust 1.8 million to 2.6 million nationally, he said.
"I was struck by the fact that for the
2018 Women's March, people were not
predicting a low estimate of 1.8 million
nationally," Pressman said. "The fact that
a year later that much energy is carrying
over was remarkable."
Pressman said that with more than
700 satellite events listed for the March
for Our Lives, the total participation on
March 24 could exceed 1 million.
"This is going to be another one of those
really big, multi-location kind of days," he
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT:
Students rally outside the
U.S. Capitol in Washington
March 14 to protest gun violence
as part of the biggest
demonstration yet of the student
activism that has emerged in
response to last month's
massacre of 17 people at
Florida's Marjory Stoneman
Douglas High School.
High school senior D'Angelo
McDade, front right, leads a
march in Chicago's North
Lawndale neighborhood as
part of the nationwide student
walkout. About 200 students
joined the Chicago march as a
sign of solidarity with students
at Stoneman Douglas.
Emma Fitzsimmons, 14,
of Somerville, Mass., cheers a
speaker during a symposium
with state legislators at the
statehouse in Boston, the day of
the national walkout.
we're fighting for those who might be next."
The scope of the walkout, organized by Empower, an affiliate of the Women's March organization, appeared unprecedented for a demonstration
at the K-12 level, as students began roughly at 10
a.m. in each time zone across the nation. At 10
a.m. Eastern time, the commercial broadcast networks cut into regular programming with short
On cable news channels, the coverage ranged
from a three-minute report on Fox News Channel
to some two hours of nearly uninterrupted coverage on MSNBC, with further extensive reports
throughout the day. (CNN offered something in
Some cable channels owned by Viacom Inc., including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and
BET went dark for 17 minutes.
Gretchen Brion-Meisels, a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who studies
youth political participation, said the wide turnout
"Young people are really taking a stand, and
technology is allowing them to share what they
are doing," she said in an interview. "This is a
particular moment in time when adults need the
leadership of youth."
Student voices weren't the only ones heard.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told
MSNBC at the rally outside the Capitol, which
was attended by Democratic leaders and members of Congress, "The [National Rifle Association]
has held Congress hostage for years now. These
young people have shown up to free us. I believe
the young people will lead us."
But South Carolina's Republican Gov. Henry
McMaster declared the walkouts "shameful"
and told the state's public television station, "It
appears these innocent schoolchildren are being
used as a tool by this left-wing group to further
their own agenda."
Elizabeth Hill, the spokeswoman for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, issued a statement
that said "the secretary gives a lot of credit to the
students who are raising their voices and demanding change. She hears them, and their input will
be valuable as she convenes the Federal Commission on School Safety and works to find solutions
to keeping all students safe at school."
President Trump, meanwhile, tweeted about fair
trade and infrastructure in the morning, but not
about the walkouts. Later in the day, he tweeted
about House passage of the STOP School Violence
Act, among several pieces of legislation aimed at
the issue, but still didn't mention the walkouts.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was among the highest-profile Republicans to acknowledge the demonstrations that gained momentum from students
in his state.
"Today, across the country, in a few minutes,
students from across America will be exercising
their First Amendment right to speak out about
changes that they want on how we regulate our
Second Amendment right," Rubio said at a Senate
Judiciary Committee hearing about the Parkland
shooting as the walkouts were getting underway.
"The one thing I believe we do have common
ground on is that I know of no one, I know of no
one in this country who wants to see another
community or another state endure such senseless violence," said Rubio, who supports the STOP
School Violence Act.
Some Face Discipline
Many school administrators approved of student participation in the walkouts. Others made
it clear that students would face discipline.
At Schuylerville High School in Schuylerville, N.Y., pickup trucks reportedly blocked
the main entrance and exit driveway, with
school staff members and a local sheriff 's
deputy keeping watch for unauthorized departures from the campus. Students were allowed
to go to the school gym to observe a moment
In Atlanta, MSNBC interviewed three girls
from St. Pius School who left their campus to
attend the walkout of a nearby public school.
"This is so much more important to me than
any school discipline," one of the girls said. Her
friend said, "We do respect Catholic Schools of
Atlanta's decision not to allow it, but this feels
so important to us."
The American Civil Liberties Union had
urged public schools to respect students' First
Amendment expression rights by allowing
them to participate in the walkouts without
"Our message has been even if you can punish students for a walkout, it doesn't mean you
should," said Josh Bell, an ACLU spokesman.
In Hillcrest High School in Idaho Falls,
Idaho, some students staged a counter-protest.
Senior Ryler Hanosky held a sign that said,
"Arm Our Teachers."
Some students at other schools declined to
participate because they disagreed with the
strong gun control message widespread among
the walkout participants nationally.
"I would just say that the media represents
this as a pro-gun control thing, and I'm not really pro-gun control," Nick Salvador, a freshman at Grosse Pointe North High School in
Michigan told his school paper, the North
Pointe, in an interview posted to Twitter.
At the iLEAD Academy in Carrollton, Ky.,
a small rural STEM school an hour's drive
northeast of Louisville, students continued
their studies on laptops at the appointed hour.
Not one student walked out.
Andrea Hunley, the principal at the Center
for Inquiry 2, a K-8 school in downtown Indianapolis, said she was approached by some
students who didn't want to participate in the
school's walkout because "they felt strongly
about their Second Amendment rights."
Hunley worked with those students to figure
out an alternative they were happy with-observing 17 minutes of silence in class-and
that allowed them to honor the Parkland victims without taking part in the protest.
In contrast, more than 100 middle school
students from Indianapolis walked out to call
for more gun restrictions. Students' breath
was visible in the 20-degree weather as they
chanted: "This is what democracy looks like!"
Students in cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia walked out in recognition of the school
shooting in Parkland, but participants there
also noted that in some city neighborhoods,
they face the prospect of gun violence just getting to and from school.
"I came out because of what happened in
Florida, but also because of what happens in
my neighborhood every day," said Alayshia
Bridges, a 17-year-old senior at South Philadelphia High School.
David S. Meyer, a professor of sociology at
the University of California, Irvine, and a
scholar of protest movements, was impressed
by Wednesday's event, but he sounded a cautionary note.
"This walkout is really cool, but it is not
something that immediately changes everything," he said. "It is part of a longer political
process. Some of the kids know that. The others are going to learn. Social change is hard."
Staff writers Evie Blad, Catherine Gewertz,
Benjamin Herold, Sasha Jones, Alyson Klein,
Arianna Prothero, Sarah Schwartz, and
Denisa R. Superville contributed to this article.
EDUCATION WEEK | March 21, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 13
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 21, 2018
Education Week - March 21, 2018
A Teachable Moment For 2nd Amendment
Student Walkout Taps Well of Anger, Sadness
Sick of Low Pay, More Teachers Prepare to Fight
News in Brief
N.D. Districts Can Substitute ACT For State Test
Study: Don’t Use ACT, SAT to Gauge School Achievement
Spreading Social-Emotional Learning Across All Schools
Educators and Finance Officers Team Up for Better Budgeting
Schools Struggle to Use Data To Get Better
Upcoming March Could Draw On Walkout’s Momentum
Walkout Takes Aim at Gun Violence
FACT SHEET: Students With Emotional Disabilities
Response to Shooting Begins to Take Shape
lorida Extends Private-School Vouchers to Bullied Students
Surprise W.Va. Teachers Strike Emboldens Activists Elsewhere
DeVos Still Challenged In Delivering Message
Shakeup in Office Overseeing Student Privacy Rights
MARY BETH TINKER: I Stand With the Students
FRANK LOMONTE: Student Privacy Laws Should Protect Students, Not School Officials
KIRSTEN BAESLER: Yes, Betsy DeVos, Our Schools Are Innovating
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
LAWRENCE BAINES & JIM MACHELL: The War on Teachers Comes to Oklahoma
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Sick of Low Pay, More Teachers Prepare to Fight
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 2
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Contents
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - News in Brief
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Report Roundup
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - N.D. Districts Can Substitute ACT For State Test
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Study: Don’t Use ACT, SAT to Gauge School Achievement
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Spreading Social-Emotional Learning Across All Schools
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 9
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Schools Struggle to Use Data To Get Better
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 11
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Upcoming March Could Draw On Walkout’s Momentum
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Walkout Takes Aim at Gun Violence
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - FACT SHEET: Students With Emotional Disabilities
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 15
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 16
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 17
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - lorida Extends Private-School Vouchers to Bullied Students
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Surprise W.Va. Teachers Strike Emboldens Activists Elsewhere
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Shakeup in Office Overseeing Student Privacy Rights
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 21
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - FRANK LOMONTE: Student Privacy Laws Should Protect Students, Not School Officials
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - KIRSTEN BAESLER: Yes, Betsy DeVos, Our Schools Are Innovating
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 25
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - 27
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - LAWRENCE BAINES & JIM MACHELL: The War on Teachers Comes to Oklahoma
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - March 21, 2018 - CW4