This Wednesday, public high school students around the region, and the world, will walk out of school demanding political action to ensure safety from gun violence. Online events show that thousands of students and their supporters will participate in Madison alone.
March 14th, will mark one month since the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Students at schools around the country, in every state, plan to leave class at 10 a.m. and stay out for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim in Parkland.
But in Madison, huge numbers of high school students will meet at East High School and march to the state capitol in a large, organized rally.
Allison Leyer, a senior at West High School and one of the event’s central organizers says, “We’re hoping that about half of the four main high schools will show up. On our event page we have 2,000 RSVPs, but we are expecting upwards of that.”
She will be joining a group of her classmates who, like students at Memorial, La Follette and other area high schools, will be transporting to East for the march.
According to Leyer, high school students, UW students and community members from around the state will be there, all presenting a specific list of demands. These demands include universal background checks, raising the minimum age for weapons purchase to 21, banning bump stocks, limiting magazine capacity, and making education and training more accessible.
Karen Boran is the principal at West High School. She says that while school administrators cannot take public stances on political issues, district officials have been doing what they can to make sure students feel safe and supported.
Student organizers have stressed the passion and urgency they feel for this day of action. Emma Falk, a senior at East High School, has been working with Leyer and others to plan the walkout, and she says they started organizing immediately after the Parkland tragedy.
The nationwide 17-minute walkout will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, while Madison high school students plan to start marching to the capitol at noon.
Additional events are being planned for Saturday, March 24th and Friday, April 20th, but this week’s is expected to be Madison’s largest.
Christian Phelps reports on the story for WORT News.