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Students walkout to protest gun violence

By Elise Guillen

On March 14, a student walkout, in honor of those lost at Parkland High School on Feb. 14 and others killed by gun violence, occurred at Steinmetz and across the nation. Approximately 1 million students joined the protests, according news reports.

At 10 a.m., students across America (and in countries like London, Australia and Israel) walked out of their school buildings and stood outside for 17 minutes, which represented the 17 lives lost at Parkland.

At Steinmetz, more than 100 students stood mostly in silence to think about students and staff killed at Parkland High School and also people in Chicago affected by gun violence. Most people can relate and know at least one victim to gun violence. Steinmetz students and teachers spoke through an air-horn and shared the names of people they’ve lost to guns.

Students not only referenced people they knew personally, but also well-known victims including students from Parkland and victims from Pulse, also in Florida. It was not only a protest to fight for school safety, but to make the world safer with more gun control.

It was emotional to those participating in the protest and some even shed tears. Hearing all the names listed, it’s hard to fathom the lack of action taken place still and that many lives will continued to be lost until there are more restrictions on guns, especially assault weapons.

The Steinmetz event was organized by teachers. Principal Stephen Ngo had told teachers that students could walk out only if they were with their 2nd period teacher, who was supposed to have a lesson plan. Some students left their 2nd period classes even though their teachers weren’t going out. They held their ground and walked right out the main doors.

Steinmetz students stood in solidarity with thousands of others to show that teens are the future and that change is coming.

After the Steinmetz event, nearly a dozen students left school to participate in another event at North Lawndale High School, hosted by a student-led group called Good Kids Mad City.

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Slideshow photos by Steven Nunez and Tamara Johnson

Good Kids Mad City demonstration

By Kathryn Rosas

Today I learned that standing up for what you believe in is worth pursing, though others may disagree and try to stop you from achieving whatever it is that you want to achieve. You have to persevere and strive for what you believe is right.

Many students decided that 17 minutes was not enough for the 17 students who lost their lives in Florida, so we decided to participate in the second walkout that was organized by another student.

Once Principal Steven Ngo saw us getting ready to leave, he decided to threaten us with being suspended and calling law enforcement to come get us if we left school grounds. He also threatened the seniors with losing all senior privileges like prom, the lock-in and other activities. Every individual that chose to participate had to be taken out for an early dismissal, which caused conflict with some of the parents who didn’t have rides to pick up some of the students.

Afterwards most of us were signed out by a heroic mother with our guardians allowing us to be signed out by the mother. This led to the staff in the office telling us to take off anything that we had of Steinmetz on because the school doesn’t want to be involved in a peaceful protest to spread the word that gun violence is wrong.

Ironic, isn’t it? The same staff that had a walkout for 17 minutes was “embarrassed by us” showing more support in the cause. Even though we had our conflict with the school, we made it to the protest.

Students from North Lawndale High School led the protest. We put red tape on our mouths as a symbol of silence as we marched around the block. The neighborhood people beeped at us, throwing up their fists and saying, “Continue what you’re doing,” and “Proud of you young folks.”

This created a powerful image in my mind, as it did in others. After the silent march we attended a press conference. We chanted, “Who’s schools?” “Our schools.” “What do we want?” “Justice.” and “When do we want it?” ” Now.” Four student organizers sharing their  personal stories that have led them up to this very moment. The whole protest finished with us eating pizza.

Proud is the only word my parents had to say about me, so proud is what March 14 was.

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