Thousands of students and teachers walked out of their classrooms on Wednesday, March 14 to raise awareness about issues of school safety and the impact of gun violence. The march began at 10 a.m. and lasted for seventeen minutes to represent each of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Of course, students from Stoneman Douglas were some of the most prominent participants. This is not the last march, though. On March 24th, the Parkland students have organized “March For Our Lives,” which will take place in Washington, D.C. and across the country at sister marches.
Yes, these walkouts and marches are students’ chance to use their freedom of speech and protest for what they think is right. You have to stop and think though, do these walkouts really accomplish the things that the students (and any teachers who participate) want done? Of course, I am all for change and strongly agree that there are serious issues that need to be dealt with, but I just do not think that walkouts will accomplish what these students and teachers want done.
There are many ways that one can attempt to make a change in this type of situation. Writing to one’s state congressman, state senator, and representative can be a big help. You will get a response. They will tell you what their views are on this topic and what their reasons are for voting on the bills that are attempting to help fix this situation that our country is in. If enough people reach out to these leaders, it would be very hard for them to not follow through with the people’s wishes.
Although I do not believe that student walkouts accomplish that much, I do believe that the official marches, for instance in Washington, D.C., do have a greater impact. I believe this because the location is in the place where the laws that the students want are decided upon and passed. Location matters, no matter what one may think. It is better to get thousands of people up close and personal with the lawmakers, so as to put pressure on them to act fast.
An important thing that everyone needs to do is work together and not criticize each other’s political beliefs. If you criticize one’s beliefs, it is quite likely that they will not help you get things done about this issue, especially if the person being criticized is a political leader.
Students should not need to disrupt the school day in order to move on the political agenda. Rather, if they want their voices heard, I believe that there are many better options to which they can resort.
By Madison Slusser