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‘Enough is Enough’: students march on Capitol for gun control legislation

Students+from+Montgomery+Blair+and+B-CC+high+schools+organized+the+Enough+is+Enough+school+walkout+Wednesday+Feb.+21+to+advocate+for+gun+control+legislation.+MCPS+students+marched+to+the+Capitol+and+protested+in+the+wake+of+the+school+shooting+in+Parkland%2C+FL+last+week.+Photo+by+a+Whitman+student.
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‘Enough is Enough’: students march on Capitol for gun control legislation

Students from Montgomery Blair and B-CC high schools organized the Enough is Enough school walkout Wednesday Feb. 21 to advocate for gun control legislation. MCPS students marched to the Capitol and protested in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL last week. Photo by a Whitman student.

Students from Montgomery Blair and B-CC high schools organized the Enough is Enough school walkout Wednesday Feb. 21 to advocate for gun control legislation. MCPS students marched to the Capitol and protested in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL last week. Photo by a Whitman student.

Students from Montgomery Blair and B-CC high schools organized the Enough is Enough school walkout Wednesday Feb. 21 to advocate for gun control legislation. MCPS students marched to the Capitol and protested in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL last week. Photo by a Whitman student.

Students from Montgomery Blair and B-CC high schools organized the Enough is Enough school walkout Wednesday Feb. 21 to advocate for gun control legislation. MCPS students marched to the Capitol and protested in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL last week. Photo by a Whitman student.

By Rebecca Hirsh

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About 1,000 MCPS students walked out of classes Wednesday morning around 9:30 a.m. to march to the Capitol and advocate gun control legislation in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last week.

Students at Montgomery Blair and Bethesda-Chevy Chase high schools organized the rally, but students from multiple other high schools—including Whitman, Richard Montgomery and Thomas Wootton—attended, MCPS officials said. Blair participants walked two miles down Colesville Road in the far-right lane, escorted by county police officers who stopped traffic and ensured students stayed in the lane. Students from schools further away walked to local Metro stations.

“After the Parkland, Florida shooting, we students can no longer stay silent on the issue of gun violence in the United States,” a press release advertising the walkout read. “Far too many innocent lives have been taken in these slaughters, all because of the easy access and availability of guns in general and assault weapons in particular.”

Fewer than 10 Whitman students attended, likely due to a lack of information publicized at Whitman. After taking the Metro to Union Center, they met with the protesters from other schools. Around 10:30 a.m., one of the organizers, B-CC senior Olivia McCarren, led students to march to the Capitol. There, Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, Blair teacher Samir Paul and president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence Jen Pauliukonis addressed the crowd. Raskin spoke of the power young people have in influencing political and social change, referencing monumental historical examples, such as the Vietnam War and Tinker v. Des Moines, where young people effected change, a student who attended said.

“I don’t know if this one protest changed any minds,” a Whitman junior said. “The point is more to show Congress that this is what the majority of people want and that they need to listen to us, they need to fight for us and they need to keep students safe.”

Plans for the walkout began with a few Richard Montgomery students on Thursday, and the event was officially announced on social media on Saturday, organizer Daniel Gelillo said.

“After the Parkland shooting, I was really fed up with the state of things, and I decided it was time for students to take a stand and a lot of people answered the call,” Gelillo, a senior, said. “We needed to mobilize quickly because we wanted to keep this in the nation’s attention, and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the weeks in between the shooting and when these national protests are going to happen.”

Principals from a few of the schools attempted to discourage the walkout by announcing over the loudspeaker that students who left would receive an unexcused absence. At Wootton, the school called the parents of the students who attended and the principal proposed a meeting at lunch to talk about issues rather than students leaving, Wootton juniors Sofia Weinstein and Caroline Gastwirth said.

National marches and walkouts are scheduled for March 14 and March 24. Principal Alan Goodwin has expressed hopes of organizing a Whitman presence at both and will work with students and staff to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Young people are really energized to do stuff about this,” Gelillo said. “Gun control is definitely in the national consciousness, and it’s not going to go away anytime soon. These demonstrations are going be sustained, and it’s going to keep going on until something changes.”

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “‘Enough is Enough’: students march on Capitol for gun control legislation”

  1. Funny guy on February 24th, 2018 10:44 am

    Students who walk out should get unexcused absences for missing their classes. We live in a pathetic area!

  2. Mary Beth Tinker on March 4th, 2018 5:24 pm

    Great article! So, so happy to see students speaking up for your own interests (being free from gun violence!) And, using the free press to do it! Nice going!

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