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Students join National Walkout, demand stricter gun safety laws

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  • After starting as a pilot program in 2016, Students Demand Action, according to the organization’s website, launched as a nationwide initiative in 2018 after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

    Jolyne Custer
  • The event’s organizers–Avani Rai, Pritha Chatterjee, Lilly McClelland and Karthika Nair– presented a poster stating “349,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since 1999. 6000 children and teens injured or killed in 2022.”

    Jolyne Custer
  • April 20 marked the 24 years since 1999’s Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, where 12 students and a teacher were killed and more than two dozen students were injured.

    Jolyne Custer

Over 200 Community students took a stand against gun legislation on April 5, walking out of their 5th-hour classes and gathering in the school’s bus lane at noon.

The demonstration was part of a national campaign organized by Students Demand Action, calling for stricter gun safety laws.

A week after a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, left seven people dead, thousands of students nationwide participated in the walkout. 

According to a statement issued by Students Demand Action, the goal was to demand lawmakers meet “the moment with urgency and pass common-sense policies to save lives.”

At the time of the event, at least 39 incidents of gunfire on school grounds had occurred nationally in 2023, resulting in 17 deaths and 30 injuries.

Since 1999, more than 349,000 students have experienced gun violence at school. 

Gun violence is a familiar issue on Community’s campus where a student discharged a firearm into a classroom ceiling in September of 2012.  

 Over a decade later, it remains an issue for the school’s students.

In 2022 alone, over 6000 children were victims of gun violence.

A census that senior Amber Hitchens believes doesn’t tell the full story.

“There were the families involved, there were the friends that were involved,” Hitchens said, “they’re still hurting.” 

Young people, according to Students Demand Action, are disproportionately impacted by gun violence–firearms are the number one killer of children, teens and college-aged youth in America.

More than 400 teens and children have been killed due to gun violence this year, according to Gun Violence Archive.

Freshman Ava Keenan saw the walkout as an empowering way for students to bring attention to the issue. 

“Enough is enough,” Keenan said. “Save kids, not guns.” 

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About the Contributors
Brady Boyd, Staff Writer
Giana Rawlings, Staff Writer
Giana Rawlings is a junior at Normal Community High School and participates in basketball, Best Buddies, I-Club and Freshmen Mentoring Program.  This is her first year working with the Inkspot, and she is a staff writer.  In my free time, I like to shop until I drop and hangout with friends. My all-time dream is to travel the world and experience different cultures. A slogan to live by is "don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket."
Kirsten Santana, Senior Staff Reporter
Kirsten Santana is a junior at Normal Community High School. It is her second year on the Inkspot staff. My favorite film is “When Marnie Was There.” One of my guilty pleasures is collecting pretty glass bottles. My all-time dream is to produce my own cartoon show.
Ruth Oliveros-Gallardo, Staff Writer
Ruth Oliveros-Gallardo is a senior at Normal Community High School and is on the track and field team. This is her first year working with the Inkspot, and she is staff writer. After school and on the weekends, I enjoy working and spending time with my friends. My biggest pet peeve is people chewing with their mouths open. I am most comfortable when I am with my sisters or by myself.
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