Students walk out to protest gun violence

Protestors also hold a moment of silence in honor of 17 victims of Parkland shooting last month.

Karina Mara and David Eskichyan

Chanting “Protect our schools, not our guns,” about 150 students walked out of classes today in support of stricter gun control.

“I support the idea that students have the right to peacefully protest,” Principal Deborah Smith said. “They have the right to have their voices heard and I think they have the right to bring attention to the fact that things need to change in our country. We got too much of this. We got too much violence.”

In response to the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School were among the many schools across the nation to participate in the #Enough National School Walkout at 10 a.m. today. In addition to stricter gun laws, students also pushed for better security on campus.

Sophomore Kaia Greenwood organized the school walkout with junior Hailee Kessler and freshman Kathy Rihani. Empowering speeches were delivered throughout the march, one in front of the local school district offices parking lot by sophomore Marjina Haque and by Greenwood at the end of the protest in front of school. Students held posters containing motivational messages prior to the gun control and shouted chants, some of which included foul language against the National Rifle Association.

“I feel very happy about the walkout,” Greenwood said. “I think it was entirely successful. We had a bigger turnout than I could’ve expected. I’m hoping most of everyone understood the message of it and that they see how important it is to take part in something like this.”

Following the peaceful protest from 10 a.m. to 10:21 a.m., about 10 students remained in front of the school gate and blocked the entrance. The police were called as a result of their actions and ended the march.  Several activities were planned in the multi-purpose room for students during nutrition and lunch, giving them an opportunity to write messages, make posters and pre-register to vote.

“I’m glad that it was a successfully organized protest but I feel like we could’ve done more,” Haque said. “I think we did a good job showing solidarity of the victims of Parkland but I feel like the impact could’ve been greater.”