Wednesday, March 14th`a nationwide school walk out was held in honor of the 17 fallen victims of Parkland High School. Here in Pensacola there were schools who participated. Some were met with hope and guidance while others were faced with obstacles and consequences. Four brave students from Pensacola High School walked out of at 1030 am for 17 minutes (one minute for each victim). Annie Gratt, freshman, Caitlin Sarfprt freshman, Liam Chau junior, Gabrielle Bynes freshman gathered together to peacefully protest against the current gun laws being disputed by multiple families and victims. With deans telling their consequence, which is a referral for each student and added marks on their disciplinary record, they still chose to come out and support the cause of stricter gun laws. “I knew personally that I had to come out for all the students who were scared to come out and still wanted to do it.” said student/protestor Annie Gratt. “We wanted to walk out with everyone in the country. We are not protesting the memorial because the memorial was scheduled after the national walk-out, We’re all students in high school. We don’t feel like we are safe with the current gun laws and we want to change that and if they aren’t changed we’ll walk out. We will not be bullied by the school administration or state administration.” Gratt continued.
Janice Anderson, a PHS alumnae was also in attendance for the protest as well because back 1969 she was a part of the protest at the very high school protesting the gun laws. While the protest occurred, she was a part of what was very different than today’s, it was still moving to see a generation come together for a peaceful protest. “You have to stand for what’s right. If you don’t stand for what’s right it will keep going wrong. See, the kids of today will be the voters of tomorrow and they will have to vote and continue to fight for what’s right” Anderson says.
While some schools took the more reprehensible approach some schools chose to support and walk out with their students. Pastor Powell of Iron Sharpens Iron Christian Academy lead by example and talking with his students. We embraced them that we might walk out together peacefully.” Pastor Powell says. “I am a retired military guy, 20 years active duty armed forces. SoI understand the right to bear arms, I understand engaging in battle, but I truly understand that there should be some governing in the kind of arms we have the right to bare. And a civilian to bare automatic and semi-automatic has no place and has no need.” Pastor Powell continued.
These walks-outs come from many people wanting to do more and actually make a difference. The vigils help the mourning process but the walk-outs grab the attention of the congressmen and the necessary officials.
On the evening of February 18, 2018, Downtown Pensacola was host to groups of concerned parents, teachers and students honoring the fallen victims of the Parkland Florida shooting. These citizens from Pensacola, Florida came together in unity to talk about the Parkland Florida School shooting. Being deemed one of the most tragic shootings, It’s the 11th school shooting this year alone. The organizers of the vigil were Mom’s Demand Action Against Gun Violence, which is a group that was created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms. Many concerned citizens feel as though this shooting hit too close to home because many innocent lives were taken that simply could have been prevented if the current gun laws were stricter for young adults. Emotions flared, tears were shed and voices were heard because some feel as though our lawmakers have to make needed changes to protect the children within our schools. Participants are focusing on demanding lawmakers to take action against gun violence to save lives and build stronger communities.
With 11 school shooting in 2018 alone the need to discuss gun control is becoming more and more important in our country. There are laws that allow Americans to carry their guns on persons with the proper paperwork but with events like mass shootings it is bringing up questions from many about how stricter these laws should be. A day after the shooting at Parkland many high school students in Florida started protesting by leaving school until there was a way to ensure their safety. Along with the vigil, there also anti-gun rallies that have taken place. As a way to prevent more shootings on school campuses some middle and high schools have been taking even more secure procedures to ensure the safety of it students by having the schools function by lock down procedures. Currently the Florida congress and the US senate are working on improving the gun control bill.