Wantagh Walkout for Better Gun Control

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Wantagh Walkout for Better Gun Control

Grace Anne McKenna, Editor in Chief

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Wantagh High School students took part in a nationwide walkout March 14.

The walkout was part of a movement, dubbed “March For Our Lives.” Wantagh High’s walkout was one of many nationwide demonstrations in support of tighter gun control. The walkout also honored victims of the Parkland Shooting, which occurred on Valentine’s Day 2018 and claimed 17 lives.

A leader of the movement, Emma Gonzalez, described the essence of the student-led protest. “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”

“I think that the walkout was an amazing experience that brought students together to honor the lives of the 17 students and staff lost in Parkland,” said Samantha Walsh, a W.H. S. senior. “Although we all remained silent, we knew that we were finally being heard.”

Wantagh’s walkout was spearheaded by members of the senior class.

“It was very inspiring to see high school students learning how to use their political voices for a change. This movement shows that you can be a student and still have an impact on the real world. It shows that you don’t need a title to make a change,” said Allie Schadoff, a senior at Wantagh High School.

The epicenter of the March For Our Lives movement is the voices of high school students throughout the United States.

“I was proud to be a part of this movement because it is run by students. I have gained a sense of empowerment because this walkout shows what my classmates and I can do to have an impact on our community,” said Annie Browne, a senior at Wantagh High School.

“To see so many students walk out in support of their beliefs was really inspiring. I think it was really powerful that it was run by us and not teachers. It gave students the power to follow their beliefs, whether they chose to walk out or not,” said Katie Gifford, a senior at Wantagh High School. “I think that it’s vital to give kids an outlet to be heard, and I hope that everyone continues to pursue their beliefs.”

As students walked the track outside of the high school, they were asked to remain silent for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of the Parkland Shooting.

“I think the walkout was a major success. I was personally movedby how the student body could band together for something of such importance,” said Lindsay Whiteman, a senior at Wantagh High School. “It’s funny, we never planned for the students to walk in circles like that on the track but it just kind of happened and it was perfect. I was shocked that the students stayed silent for all 17 minutes.”

Gifford, Schadoff, and Whiteman were featured on the front page of the New York Post Sunday, March 25, the morning after participating in the New York City March For Our Lives event. They are depicted holding signs and with expressions of strength and determination on their faces. The front page of the paper reads: “Up in Arms: America’s Youth in Revolt Over Guns.”

After the walkout, students were encouraged to write a letter to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Many Warriors thanked these students for inspiring them to stand up for their beliefs and make a change.

“If I’m being honest, I learned that our students have way more compassion and kindness in them than I ever believed before. I’m so proud of the school for walking out for such an important cause,” said Whiteman.

As students walked the track, posters with the names of each of the 17 Parkland victims lined the bleacher fence. Posters with powerful messages were also held and hung on the fence.

“Myself and everyone else who ran the event at our school could not believe the turnout,” said Gifford. “It was very inspiring to see such a large population of our school, no matter their political leanings, to not differentiate between red or blue and instead, focus on the people that were victims of such hateful crimes and the fact that we will not stand for this any longer.”

There were 2 designated national walkouts. March 14 was the first, one month after the Parkland Shooting, and April 20th was the second.

While Wantagh only walked out on March 14, students were encouraged to wear orange on April 20 in support of ending gun violence and in respect for those who lost their lives due to a school shooting or gun-related act.

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