By David Andersson
Everything started as usual. The morning cold made me move quickly to the train. When i got to work, i went through my usual routine of checking my email, getting updated for the day. One email, titled ”17 minutes walkout, ” had been sent by our head of school. This was out of the norm: in my 19 years working at this school there had never, ever, been a walkout, and this request was not just sent to students but to administration, teachers, and support staff. Everyone was invited to stand outside for 17 minutes, one for each of the victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.
On the sidewalk along with my colleagues and students, giving speeches and reading poetry, we saw students from the school across the street walking-by in procession with signs. I realized that it was not just one school event but something larger, in coordination with schools across the country. Today, March 14, was a National School Walkout. The purpose, according to organizers, was to highlight “Congress’ inaction against the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.” Organized with support from the Women’s March, an estimated 185,000 young people in 50 states joined. Approximately 3,100 schools said they were going to participate, an organizer told NBC News ahead of the walkout.
This is really a “new” and unusual situation, that heads of private schools put themselves into this type of social and political fight. That was not a regular rally/protest but a coordinated effort by schools administrations all over the country, pressured by their students to stand and take part in this effort.
The walkout took place 10 days before the March For Our Lives in Washington DC and many cities worldwide.