Most of the 1,500 students who attend Rufus King International School joined students around the U.S. in a walkout to protest gun violence, demand limits on gun access and remember the students killed in the country’s most recent school shooting.
Exiting the back of the school building, located at 1801 W. Olive St., King students and faculty walked silently around the track. They observed 17 minutes of silence in memory of the 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who died in a Feb. 14 shooting rampage at their Parkland, Florida school. A deceased student’s name was read aloud during each of the 17 minutes.
Students then performed spoken word poems and shared thoughts on the impact and threat of violence in their lives. At the microphone or on signs carried as they walked, many demanded that lawmakers enact laws that will reduce the threat of school shootings. One young woman spoke through tears of the recent shooting death of a cousin.
Fourth- through eighth-graders at Highland Community School, 1706 W. Highland Ave., also joined the walkout. School leaders noted that the school’s Bill of Rights “guarantees students the right to physical safety, the right to emotional safety, and the right to work in peace.” Students and staff demanded that lawmakers “find solutions to the rampant gun violence plaguing the United States.”