North Atlanta Students Walkout to Protest School Violence

During+a+March+14+walkout+event+at+North+Atlanta+High+School%2C+senior+Adenike+Makinde+read+a+list+of+the+names+of+the+17+victims+who+were+killed+during+the+Feb.+14+school+shooting+in+Parkland%2C+Florida.+Also+shown+are+Roya+Register%2C+Jessica+Milburn%2C+and+SGA+President+Chandler+Smith
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North Atlanta Students Walkout to Protest School Violence

During a March 14 walkout event at North Atlanta High School, senior Adenike Makinde read a list of the names of the 17 victims who were killed during the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Also shown are Roya Register, Jessica Milburn, and SGA President Chandler Smith

During a March 14 walkout event at North Atlanta High School, senior Adenike Makinde read a list of the names of the 17 victims who were killed during the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Also shown are Roya Register, Jessica Milburn, and SGA President Chandler Smith

Olivia Merideth

During a March 14 walkout event at North Atlanta High School, senior Adenike Makinde read a list of the names of the 17 victims who were killed during the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Also shown are Roya Register, Jessica Milburn, and SGA President Chandler Smith

Olivia Merideth

Olivia Merideth

During a March 14 walkout event at North Atlanta High School, senior Adenike Makinde read a list of the names of the 17 victims who were killed during the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Also shown are Roya Register, Jessica Milburn, and SGA President Chandler Smith

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In wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, hundreds of thousands of students staged walkout events on March 14th to protest school violence.

More than 180,000 people in all 50 states joined the movement and North Atlanta High School was one of the participating schools. More than 800 students from Atlanta’s largest public school gathered on the school’s Warrior Field on a chilly late-winter morning. Many at the event carried “never again” signs to express their opposition to gun violence.

The walkout, sponsored by the North Atlanta Student Government Association, had guest speakers to represent the student body. The SGA president and other student activists delivered speeches and led the gathered students in a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the February 14th school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Those who attended said they got great meaning from the proceedings. There were questions, however, about whether the momentum seen in one morning would translate into real political or social change. “The walkout was definitely a good commemoration of those that died but I don’t think a small walkout is going to accomplish much in terms of stopping school violence,” said junior Ethan Roman.

Roman took a somewhat cynical perspective toward the event, saying he sensed most showed up just to get out of class.

But the desire for real change was seen and expressed by many. Sophomore Olivia Chewning is a strong advocate for enacting gun laws to bring about safer schools and she said her participation in the event reflected this. “The walkout was really inspiring and it was cool that we were given the chance to be a part of it,” she said. “After all, Parkland could’ve been us.”

Today’s high-schoolers have grown up in an era of insecurity and mass shootings. In this year alone, there have been more than 18 school shootings with the Parkland shooting being the most prominent. Those who attended the North Atlanta event said the prospect for school violence is never completely out of their minds. “It definitely makes me think about things that I’m sure people in high school 10 years ago didn’t,” said sophomore Hasina Tisdale. “What would I do if there was a school shooter in front of me? Having to think about my friends bleeding out in the halls horrifies me.” Many at North Atlanta said the recent Douglas High School shootings and the walkout events across the nation have put things in perspective for them.

The national walkout today showed that, with students filling football fields and front steps of schools in every state. Thousands are holding signs in protest. Thousands are standing up for the students who have died. Thousands are speaking up against gun violence. And hopefully, those thousands will enact withstanding change.