As expected, hundreds of students from across Nassau County took part in Wednesday’s planned National School Walkout to remember the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a month ago, and call for stricter gun controls, according to student activists and educators.
At North Shore High School in Glen Head, many students brandished signs saying they had had enough of gun violence. Senior Danielle Fosset said, “I think it’s important that our demographic and generation becomes increasingly active and involved in social issues in the current political climate, especially in regards to our lives and our safety. That’s why I participated in the walkout. We have the power to inspire change.”
The group Women’s March Youth Empower acted as a national organizer of the walkout, which took place not only in the United States, but also at schools in Europe and Australia.
The event was called simply #Enough.
It began at 10 a.m. Students walked out of their schools for precisely 17 minutes — one minute for each of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas victims.
According to a post on its Twitter feed, Women's March Youth Empower is seeking:
• To enact a resolution declaring gun violence a national health crisis.
• To ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
• To expand background checks on all weapons.
• To pass a federal gun violence restraining order.
• To pass an act "to demilitarize" law enforcement.
School districts are prohibited by law from advocating for political positions, so district officials said they could not condone the walkout. At the same time, many are saying they support their students.
A number of school districts, such as the Valley Stream Central High and Lynbrook school districts, held school-sponsored memorial services in remembrance of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas victims. Others held assemblies, and others allowed students to walk out without fear of punishment; however, there were reports of a handful of Long Island districts that treated the walkout as a cut.
Ahead of the walkout, Nassau police said that security was stepped up at high schools across the county, but would offer no further details.
On its website, Women’s March Youth Empower states that the walkout came about because of “Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”
“We need action,” the site states. “Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.”
Erik Hawkins, Alexandra Brinton and Zoe Mailin contributed to this story.