CVHS Student Organized Gun Control Walkout

Marwa Hameed and Mike Chu

Alyssa Alhadeff 14, Scott Beigel 35, Martin Duque Anguiano 14, Nicholas Dworet 17, Aaron Feis 37, Jaime Guttenberg 14, Christopher Hixon 49, Luke Hoyer 15, Cara Loughran 14, Gina Montalto 14, Joaquin Oliver 17, Alaina Petty 14, Meadow Pollack 18, Helena Ramsay 17, Alexander Schachter 14, Carmen Schentrup 16, Peter Wang 15. These were the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that happened in Parkland, Florida. And these 17 victims, along with the lives lost in other multiple fatal school shootings such as Columbine,  inspired students here at Centreville High School to organize a walk-out protest demanding for stricter gun control laws.

On the February 21st, at noon, students left their sixth period and gathered in front of the main entrance of the school holding signs and chanting: “What do we want? Gun control! When do we want it? Now!” As the crowd became larger, they began to march towards the football stadium. Once they arrived, many students began to give passionate speeches urging for stricter gun laws. Their message was clear: Thoughts and prayers would no longer be enough.

Many students gave their opinions, including John Corado who stated that, “[Students] should be able to feel safe at school and not have to feel fear to come to school.” Another outspoken supporter of gun control was Sonya Sanie, a senior, who voiced that, “The only way change is going to happen is if we keep talking about it, if we keep it in our hearts and we don’t forget. Keep talking about, vote, go to rallies. Don’t forget!”  The sentiment was clear among the Centreville student body; the Parkland shooting would not just be another tragic event that lawmakers ignore. The lives of students and teachers matter, and a change needs to occur now in order for our schools to be safe once again.

Students were not the only ones who attended the rally. Teachers and school staff with a sixth period planning period were asked to oversee the protest to ensure everything remained peaceful. Among the staff were Mr. Jagels, who commented that the protest had a higher turnout than expected. He also stated that the school was not concerned with students exercising their right. Other school staff members also gave their opinion on the protest. Mr. Marley, who teaches English, stated that he believed that students had the right to make their opinions known, as long as they do not disturb the learning environment and infringe upon another student’s right to educate him or herself.

Students who wish to further support the cause can attend the nationwide high school walkout on March 14 for 17 minutes, honoring the 17 victims of the Stoneman shooting, and the March For Our Lives on March 24. On April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, students will be able to participate another nationwide high school walkout.