Students from more than 50 schools in the region left their classrooms this morning for the National School Walkout, a 17-minute vigil intended to honor the 17 students and teachers shot to death last month in Parkland, Florida, and to call on lawmakers to toughen gun laws.
At Murrell Dobbins CTE High School in North Philly, students added an extra minute to their vigil to honor Courtlin Arrington, a 17-year-old student shot to death last week in her classroom at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama.
The walkouts come on the one-month anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a 19-year-old former student with an AR-15-style rifle killed 14 students and three teachers and injured another 17 people in a six-minute shooting spree. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. high school in modern history and ignited calls for gun control nationwide.
Many students wore orange, the movement’s color dating back to the 2013 death of Hadiya Pendleton, who was gunned down at age 15 in Chicago. Her friends decided orange was the best color to symbolize their fight for gun control because it’s “what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others from harm. Orange is a bright, bold color that demands to be seen. Orange expresses our collective hope as a nation — a hope for a future free from gun violence.”