Students from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in New York City joined more than 2,000 schools across the country in staging a walkout to call for action on gun laws. “This is not only a way to honor the lives lost at Parkland, but this is a way to bring attention to the issue of gun violence,” said 17-year-old senior Marcus Daschagas from Harlem, N.Y. “This is us showing we don’t want this to happen again.”
The #NationalWalkoutDay was intended to pressure state and federal lawmakers to tighten gun laws to make it more difficult for minors and those with mental health issues to obtain firearms. The walkouts took place at 10 a.m. local time in each time zone and lasted for 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 Parkland, Fla., school shooting victims.
Across the city, the New York City Department of Education allowed students to participate in the event if they submitted a signed permission slip from their parents. The infraction would count as an excused absence.
Hundreds of students sat and lay down on West 62nd Street to show their unity. “Something needs to change in this country,” said 18-year-old senior Destynie Julien. “This school is 1,200 kids, and we’re all here to say, something needs to happen.”