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Walking out on Congress

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Alex Eng
Students gather at the Capitol Building to watch a host of student speakers talk about gun control.

 

On Friday April 20, students across the nation marched out of their classes to protest the flood of recent school shootings as well as gun laws. Students walking out in Arlington left their schools around 10:00 am, traveled to the district via Metro and marched to the lawn of the Capitol.

The walkout was the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history until 17 people were killed in Parkland, Florida in February. Despite becoming a world-known event, The National School Walkout was started by Lane Murdoch, a 16-year-old who grew up just 20 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School according to an article from TIME.

In an election year, with every seat in the House and a third of the Senate up for votes, the students are determined to make an ­impact. The march’s focus on gun control was not an expression of party preference. What was demanded from Republicans and Democrats at the event was action on an issue they believe has been put aside by lawmakers for too long. “I think it is important to remember all students are open to gunfire, not just the ones who want strict gun rights,” sophomore Chris Bird said.

Although the students who walked out were passionate about the cause and remorseful towards the victims, some students could not help but feel that it was underwhelming. Once the masses of students left the Metro station in D.C., the crowds marched about the length of the reflecting pool to Capitol Hill, where they sat and listened to students and staff speak about their survival stories and memories.

“The whole ‘march’ was really more of a meeting or service for the victims and survivors,” sophomore Michael Farrell-Rossen said. “I really do support the cause behind this walkout, but I think some other students including myself really were expecting a march around D.C.”

More than 10,000 students participated in the event nationally. Despite some contradicting opinions about the event’s purpose, those who participated shared a common goal to honor the victims of school shootings and also demand legislative change.

“I was very happy with how many people decided to walk out to the Capitol, and I think everyone who spoke sparked inspiration in these students,” sophomore Claire Schulte said. “We are the future, so come time when we can vote, these shootings that seem so frequent will just be a thing of the past.”

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Walking out on Congress