LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Another wave of school walkouts happened this morning as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control. Students from Lubbock High School participated in the walkout.
"I think it's important because of where we live," Organizer and LHS Junior Charlie Young said. "We're in a very conservative place and I think it's important for people to know, the future, the people that are going to be voting in the next couple of years are people that value our safety, other people's safety. The overall state of society we are in has become so normalized to guns and things like school shootings and fear being on a campus where it's supposed to be a safe learning environment."
The walkouts were planned for the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting that left 13 people dead in Littleton, Colorado.
At Lubbock High, there was a 19 minute moment of silence for the 19 years since Columbine amid the hundred or so students, parents and community members who were in attendance.
"Being the school shooting generation, we have seen that decline in people wanting to do something about it and the decline in the shock factor of how awful a shooting is," Young said.
Parents and community members were with the students in support of the cause and providing some signs about gun reform and school safety to the students. Young said she was surprised at the number of students in attendance and knows some may not have been there as part of the movement.
"Those of us like me and other people that helped organize this, we know what we are doing, what we are fighting for and we have done our research," Young said. "Our core belief is it's not OK, the amount of school shootings that we have had in the last 10 years and nothing has been done about it."
The demonstrators primarily wanted changes to school security and gun reform. Examples include locking all doors at school and metal detectors. As for gun reform, they want stronger background checks and restrictions for those they believe shouldn't have a weapon.
There were a few counter-protesters at the demonstration advocating for gun rights and the 2nd Amendment. School officials and police were there to provide safety for the students. Lubbock ISD says it planned for this event with administration and law enforcement.
"[They] met to talk about a way to give students an opportunity to express themselves and their First Amendment right to free speech but to also protect them and protect the academic integrity of the day and keep them safe," LISD Director of Communications Nancy Sharp said.
Sharp told KCBD the walkout began at 9:58 a.m. during a passing period and students were asked to return to class by 10:30 a.m. where attendance would be taken.
"[Students] handled that in an orderly way and were respectful of the parameters that we set," Sharp said. "We want to work with students in a collaborative way to provide them that opportunity for free speech, but this is a one-time thing and move on down the road."
Lubbock ISD is hosting School Safety Community Meetings during the month of April. Each meeting will include a brief presentation about current district safety plans and will be followed by an opportunity for parents, staff and community members to provide input. All meetings will be from 6-7 p.m. The schedule of meetings is as follows:
April 23 – Estacado High School Cafeteria, 1504 E. Itasca
April 24 – Coronado High School Cafeteria, 4910 29th Dr.
April 30 – Monterey High School Cafeteria, 3211 47th St.
National organizers say more than 2,600 demonstrations are planned across the nation.
According to the The National School Walkout website, organizers have a three-part goal. To hold elected officials accountable, to promote solutions to gun violence, and to demystify and engage students in the political system.
The National School Walkout was started by Lane Murdoch, a 16-year-old who grew up just 20 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School – where 20 students were killed in a mass shooting in 2012.
The movement began as a Change.org petition following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. More than 250,000 people have signed the petition, and there are over 2,000 protests registered.