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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Students stage walkouts to protest gun violence

The student walkout at Edison High School [Maggie via Twitter]
Students across the D.C. metro area walked out of school today to protest gun violence and to honor the victims of the school shooting in Florida Feb. 14, which resulted in the deaths of 17 students and teachers.

A parent of a student at Frost Middle School said her son reported about half the student body walked out at noon. About 200 students participated in a walkout at Edison High School. They stood in front of the rock in front of the school for about a half hour. Other walkouts were reported at Holmes, Glasgow, and Poe middle schools and Stuart, Herndon, Annandale, Fall Church, South Lakes, Madison, Marshall, and South County high school. 

A message from Holmes Middle School reported: “About 100 of our students walked out at 12:13 p.m. today in honor of the 17 victims from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Staff members directed them to the flagpole outside Door 1. Students exited and re-entered the building in an orderly fashion and were outside for 17 minutes before returning to class and/or lunch.”

“FCPS respects the rights of our students to engage in peaceful protest and express their opinions through speech and other ways as long as it is done respectfully, does not interfere with the rights of others, and does not disrupt learning in the school,” the message continues. “Our school is committed to providing an environment where everyone is treated with respect and encouraged to help others. Our teachers, administrators, and staff continue to reinforce a sense of positive school community and we ask for your partnership in working with your child to discuss meaningful actions that they can take to engage in their community.”

Other principals sent similar messages to students. The message from Stuart Principal Penny Gros says about 200 students walked out at noon. “Staff members directed them to the stadium,” Gros wrote. “Students exited and re-entered the building in an orderly fashion and were outside for approximately 30 minutes before returning to class and/or lunch. Thirty students decided not to return to class and have left campus.”

School board member Ryan McElveen (at-large) announced plans to bring a resolution on gun violence prevention before the school board on Feb. 22.

He also invites members of the community to a vigil Feb. 22, 6 p.m., at Luther Jackson Middle School “to stand in solidarity with us in memory of all the lives lost to the plague of gun violence and to call on our legislators to act.”

The resolution notes that more than 150,000 students attending more than 170 schools have experience a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

It urges the school board to call upon Congress and the Virginia General Assembly “to priorities the protection of students and school system employees by passing legislation that more effectively regulates access to firearms in the interest of public safety, funds public-health research on firearms-related issues, and advances mental health supports.


  1. Man, you know, this gun control thing is a really tough thing to wrap my head around. On one hand, I'm all for making guns something really tough to obtain. They should be, right? Universal background checks, taxes, etc... it should be HARD to get a gun. On the other hand, nearly half this damn country is galvanized by awful shit like school shootings into buying more guns. Half this country doesn't want gun control. As a dude who is pretty liberal and surrounded by an echo chamber, I think we often forget that most of this country sees a school shooting as another reason to buy a gun to protect their family. I don't know what the answer is, but I think making it tough to buy a gun is a start. But I also think that ignoring what half the country thinks with regards to guns is part of the reason we haven't had any real good legislation in long damn time. Either way, good on these kids for getting out there and believing in something I guess.

    1. Antonin Scalia's defectively reasoned decision in D.C. v. Heller unfairly deprived local jurisdictions of the authority to regulate guns. In this country, the public's perception of firearms varies widely. People in metropolitan areas suffer disproportionately from gun violence. They're also less likely to fall for specious populist arguments about guns representing the antidote to governmental tyranny. It's clear that the students who walked out today are rightly concerned about becoming the next victims of any nutcase who can come up with the cash to buy an assault rifle. I'm with them one hundred percent. The so called right to bear arms cannot continue to prevail over the right of these young people to be safe. - Sparky

    2. I love the inclusive sentiment here. This issue isn't as black and white as some of the things we see on social media make it out to be. Unlike other countries, we have the right to bear arms ingrained into our constitution, and despite what the language of the law might say regarding "a well regulated militia", that right has been conveyed to individuals via the Supreme Court.

      That doesn't mean we shouldn't have reasonable controls on guns. We limit things like machine guns, tanks, grenades, etc. No one complains about not getting to purchase those. We don't use the argument of "the only deterrent against a bad guy with a tank is a good guy with a tank" (I hear that argument all the time regarding guns). We should re-implement the assault weapons ban that was in place in the 1990s. Universal background checks are good too. Also, tax the hell out of the things! Call it a f-ing death tax, because that's what it is!

      But we should also realize there will be a limit as to what we can do with these measures from a strictly gun control side, and that's where listening to the other side comes in. I don't agree with arming teachers, but having armed school resource officers in school is a good idea. Focusing on the mental health aspect is good as well, because goodness knows we have a broader issue of mental health in this country. And please don't do that stupid "no fly list" idea for gun control... any gun control mechanism that relies on something that has absolutely no due process to it is not an acceptable solution.

    3. Agree 100%, Sparky. Loner losers like these school shooters do not have the social circles to acquire anything on a black market basis. All they need is cash. Or a gun nut as a parent, which is a different issue.

      I admire everyone’s action in marching and walking out, but VOTING is the only thing that will take care of this.

  2. None of the rights in the constitution are unlimited. We need sensible murder-reduction policies, such as: universal background checks, red-flag laws, mental health checks, and closing of the gun-show loophole.

    1. And gun buy-backs.