Students at thousands of schools throughout the US walked out of class on Wednesday to protest school shootings in the wake of the massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Students at many schools left class at 10:00 a.m. local time for 17 minutes, one for each of the victims in Florida’s shooting. Other demonstrations were longer, with students gathering to give speeches on school violence and the broader social crisis in the US.
The World Socialist Web Site is covering the protests and will post updates.
At Cass Tech in Detroit, Michigan, several hundred high school students walked out and participated in a march in the neighborhood around the school.
The protest was organized by the school and coordinated closely with the Democratic Party and the police, which attempted to keep the demonstration focused exclusively on the issue of gun control. Students’ signs, chants, and speeches were vetted in advance, and school officials worked to prevent students from speaking to the press.
Democrat Michigan state legislator Sherry Dagnogo opened the rally, saying, “I’m going to Lansing [the state capital] today, and I’m going to talk to my members on both sides of the aisle, and I’m calling on them to pass bipartisan, sensible gun control.”
A WSWS reporting team spoke to students at the rally. The students denounced the NRA and called for greater restrictions on guns, but many students also spoke about the broader social issues involved in the continuing wave of school shootings, including endless war.
Noah told the WSWS, “There are many factors besides guns. With our country constantly at war that could be a reason some kids are violent. These wars should have stopped a long time ago. All the wars are doing is destroying more and more lives.
“It is scary to think about the devastation that a nuclear war would cause.”
Nyahm and his friend Micale also spoke to the WSWS. Nyahm said that he understood the pressures on young people. “We need more counselors. When I was having problems, I had no one to help or to lean on. People who are angry need someone to talk to.”
Micale expressed opposition to the constant wars launched by the United States, “War should only be a last resort.”
Alex said about the government of the United States, “When there is a problem the first thing they think of is war.”
His friend Oscar added, “Because they see all these wars going on the shooters think it is the only solution.
“The evolution of the family, with both parents often working, means that parents aren’t spending as much time with the kids. In any case, they lack an emotional support system. An understanding of that could help us resolve some of these issues.”