Students Walk Out, Speak Up Against Gun Violence: ‘This is a Historic Moment’

Hundreds of students at Upper West Side elementary, middle and high schools walked out on Wednesday in a moment of solidarity and remembrance for the 17 students killed in a mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School school in Florida last month.

Young people around the country joined the protest, following the lead of students at the Stoneman Douglas school who grew tired of waiting for adults to act to prevent gun violence.

Students from La Guardia High School and other schools sat in the middle of 62nd Street between Amsterdam And West End Avenue next to Fordham University. Surrounded by police and adults from the schools and the media, they stayed silent for 17 minutes to respect the 17 victims. Some held signs with the names of the victims, or statements like “disarm hate” or “Enough is Enough”.

At the end, a scuffle nearly broke out, as students said one young man had talked during the entire period of silence, apparently as a provocation. But a cry from the crowd of “No more violence!” stopped an altercation from happening.

Afterwards, La Guardia student Cate Whitman, spoke, saying “we have the final say in this issue,” urging students to vote and stay active.

Other local schools also held walkouts.

B'nai Jeshurun NYC and St. Paul & St. Andrew standing in solidarity with The IDEAL School of Manhattans #ENOUGH student walkout

Posted by St. Paul & St. Andrew on Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 98 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      Student demonstrations and Activism. Feeling the Sixties spirit!

    2. Dr. Cary Goodman says:

      Much thanks to the students and teachers for leading the way.

      Good luck!

    3. Zulu says:

      Proud of these kids!

      • Jd Baynon says:

        Its terrible what happened to the Students and Teachers may the wounded fully and the dead RIP.
        There is too much ignorance out there about our country. Middle school students who don’t have a full grasp on things being indoctrinated by adults. If our schools would teach American History especially the Constitution and let the kids them decide.

        • Zulu says:

          Are you trying to make a point?

        • Cyrus says:

          Let the kids decide, what, exactly? Whether school shootings should be acceptable or not?

        • Concerned parent says:

          Seriously?! High School, Middle School and Elementary School students came together today because they, High and Middle School students in particular, can read and watch the news for themselves and they see people just like themselves getting killed at school, a place where our children should feel SAFE! They should feel SAFE! Don’t insult them about not fully grasping things. Things need to change in America and the time is now.

    4. Just saying says:

      If only they were as passionate, IN class, about getting an education!

      • OriginalMark says:

        Who says they’re not?
        Do you know all those kids?

      • Paul G says:

        Who says they are not?

      • Ed Koral says:

        In school, the kids learn about the patriots in the 1770s, who protested the English. They learn about the suffragettes. They learn about the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. They learn that this is how history is made. Don’t insult these kids.

    5. Perer says:

      What about those who dont agree? Were they forced to participate? This seems more like a school event than a protest. Are they going to have a pro 2nd amendment event? If not will there be legal issues?

      • Michelle says:

        Nobody was protesting against the right to bear arms, which is what the 2nd amendment says. the fight is for sensible laws and regulations so that people can bear arms safely. There are no legal repercussions against protests. If you want to organize a pro-2nd amendment rally, you can.

      • OriginalMark says:

        Did you ask them? Why are you asking here?

      • Paul G says:

        Kids that did not want to participate didn’t. Simple as that.

      • Ted says:

        Having lived approximately half my life in Manhattan and half my life in the rural Midwest I can say confidently that there are many people in those two very different geographies who do not understand the other’s culture.

        It’s easy to make a case against guns in general in NYC. We live stacked on top of each other, we have the best equipped police department in the country and they can be anywhere, in force, in 2 minutes. In the city we use Combat or Raid to kill our pests (or the occasional glue trap).

        In Hayes Kansas things look a little different. A coyote carrying off the family dog is not even slightly out of the realm of possibilities. The cops might be 20+ minutes away so if you are the victim of a crime you are dealing with it yourself in many instances.

        In the midwest someone might have a safe filled with 30 firearms and be looked on as the one with the “modest collection” because he doesn’t own any class III weapons. In NYC they’d all be thought of as nuts.

        I know to 99% of Westside Rag readers that sounds plain crazy. And friends in the midwest ask about those “crazy New Yorkers” all the time.

        I really think, however naively, that if we came to know the other cultures in the country a little more, might, just might find some way to compromise on this issue that will keep all of us safe.

        • Ed Koral says:

          Would you agree that you don’t need an AR-15 to be able to deal with that coyote? Would also agree that if you still need a gun, it may still be appropriate for somebody to run a background check on you prior to allowing for the purchase? Would you agree that when the shooting starts, it’s impossible to tell the “good guy with a gun” from the “bad guy with a gun”?

          • Ted says:

            Ed,

            I would say the a ban on magazines over 20 rounds would be a big step in the right direction. Remember it doesn’t matter what the rifle looks like. The combination of a semi-auto mechanism with high capacity magazines is where the problem really is.

            I would also ask if you would agree that handguns which are responsible for over 11,000 murders annually in the US are a bigger problem that AR-15s which are responsible for only a fraction of the 400 total murders that are committed annually with any sort of rifle or shotgun.

            I wonder if you would agree that given the difficulty of passing gun control measures we should focus on the real problem – handguns, instead of the largely symbolic – assault weapons.

            All my data is verifiable by visiting the CDC WISQARS database.

            • Zulu says:

              The CDC’s ability to study gun violence has been severely limited since 1996. Also the whole idea of being able to protect your home and loved ones by bringing a gun home has been debunked and proven to be counterproductive. An idea mostly riding on fear.

              https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/health/gun-violence-research-cdc.html?referer=https://www.google.com/

            • Ted says:

              Zulu, While you are correct about funding for studies of gun violence I am speaking about mortality data which is available from both the CDC and for crimes from the FBI. This data is quite robust and if you consult these sources you will see that my assertions regarding these data are correct.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              in response to ted:

              this is an attempt to change the subject. of course handguns should be carefully restricted through a number of measures, including enhanced background checks. and the NRA blocked these restrictions and limitations whenever it can.

              but there is no excuse to have any semi-automatic weapons in civilian hands.it is semi-automatic weapons that are being used in these continual mass slaughters.

              unless you think that mass slaughters are not an issue, we have to ban semi-automatic assault weaponry. this has worked in the past and it has worked in places like Australia.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          in response to Ted:

          Ted says:

          “And friends in the midwest ask about those “crazy New Yorkers” all the time.”

          What, precisely, is it about us that they find “crazy”? that we don’t have safes with 30 guns in them, or that we have outlawed AR-15s?

          Somehow i doubt that is what they are asking about.

          • Ted says:

            Bruce

            In truth they have a list of things and yes guns are on the list as well as:

            How anyone can pay $750 for a parking space

            That kids have to interview for pre-school

            That anyone would pay 5K a month for an apartment the size of their shed.

            That we don’t own cars and don’t want to

            Hope this helps.

            • dannyboy says:

              It does help understand intolerance better. Sound like they’re just plain not-people persons.

              How’s the cars and gunz thing working out?

            • Ted says:

              D-Boy,

              That’s the point. Neither side tolerates the other. They are happy with their cars and guns and jet skis and dirt bikes. We are happy with $17 cocktails and a $70 steak that comes with nothing. They don’t get our concrete and we don’t get their cornfields. When we can say, “cars, gunz, gee I guess I see what they mean”, change will have a chance until then we are stuck with the echo chamber.

            • dannyboy says:

              T (may I call you that?),

              You point out an important distinction in your comment. Of course I am good with Kansan love of jet skis and dirt bikes, even if they don’t blend in my neighborhood.

              But the gunz are dangerous and lead to problems (just read the newspaper or the WSR lately). Same with cars (you can read up on our shared climate). That’s not the same as “$17 cocktails and a $70 steak that comes with nothing (I’m a vegetarian, btw).

              P.S. I’m all good with “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” by my fav, Thomas Frank. He groks the problem of the echo chamber and of people who imagine “Kansasians” (Imaginary people from the imaginary state of Kansas.)

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              on response to Ted:

              you are repeating stereotypes and doing a disservice to both New Yorkers and rural midwesterners.

              most NYers don’t drink $17 cocktails, don’t have $750 parking spaces, $3,000 apartments, and eat $70 steaks except upon the rarest of occasions. you are talking about extremely rich, 1% NYers.

              if this is your view of NYers, you don’t understand NYC, or else your circle of acquaintances is very isolate to rich people.

              and these rural Kansans you cite who think this is all “crazy” voted in majorities for Donald Trump – someone who epitomizes this sort of rich, vulgar behavior.

              i believe there are very few Kansans who don’t understand why people in dense urban areas with mass transit systems don’t own or need cars. there are very few who can’t understand that mass transit is more efficient. You are treating them like complete bumpkins. Do you think they have never been to Chicago?

              and of course NYers understand “cornfields.”

              and, by the way, enhanced background checks and banning assault weapons poll almost as well in Iowa as they do in NY.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              in response to Ted:

              I meant to type “$5,000 apartments”, not $3,000.

        • Barbara Michalak says:

          Thank you for this important information. Needs to be more widely understood when developing nationwide recommendations. I see this locally conditioned attitude on gun ownership in relatives as close to New York City as Syracuse and Buffalo, and we need to understand one another. Not just write off gun owners as ‘low information.’

          • Ted says:

            Barbara,

            Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

            I believe that it is only by listening and seeking to understand (from both sides) that a meaningful compromise can be reached. I understand both sides of the issue and their arguments. I can’t get my pro-gun friends to listen to anything but what they want to hear and I can’t get my anti-gun friends to listen to the other side.

            Each side spews talking points through foxnews or MSNBC and nothing happens. I don’t blame the kids for being fed up. Incremental progress is possible. We need leaders capable of implementing change.

            • Peter says:

              Ted – What you just said is the problem with political discourse today. Republicans won’t listen to Democrats and Democrats won’t listen to Republicans. Politics has become a “winner take all” competition. Compromise has no place any more, and, as a result, politicians in each party are driven to the far-wings of their party in order to survive. Moderate thought (which I suspect makes up far more citizens then the fringe) gets pushed to the side. I hope these student protests spark change, but we the parents have to continue to push for it. If not, nothing will get done like usual.

        • dannyboy says:

          #nationalschoolwalkout sign: “As a black boy, I hope one day I have as many rights as a gun”

          https://www.instagram.com/p/BgVj94VFRxP/

        • Amalia says:

          Ted, I understand what you are saying about mid-westerners. The problem is, they fail to see beyond their Midwest life AND when they hear “gun control” they think “gun ban” there are people in places that need guns for protection. Alaska is a great example but intense background checks and a higher age limit need to be introduced. Everytime the NRA fights for safer regulations of guns, they show us that they don’t care about people and their rights, they care about money.

      • Tim says:

        Peter,
        All the parents of elementary aged children I spoke with told me that they recommended to their kids to just go along with the political protest, memorialization, or whatever. They didn’t want their kids to possibly be ostracized. Nothing like a politically driven agenda to intimidate and coerce the innocent. Very ironic.

        • OriginalMark says:

          Oh please.
          Are you saying kids experience peer pressure?
          Wow – what an earth-shattering observation.
          If kids weren’t forced to participate, what’s the problem?
          And your sampling sounds rather random and nonsensical.

        • dannyboy says:

          What “politically driven agenda to intimidate and coerce the innocent”?

          It sound more like you spoke with some pretty lazy parents. They don’t bother to have a discussion with their children and you proceed to blame the result on a “politically driven agenda”?

          ” Very ironic.” Now where did I hear that before?

        • Peter says:

          Tim – I cannot speak for private schools, but elementary aged students (grades K-5) in public schools were not allowed to participate in the walkout unless their parent signed them out of school and then signed them back in. In addition, public school teachers were not allowed to participate and had to remain in the school building. So, I don’t think there was much “go-along with it” in the public elementary schools.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          response to tim:

          i’m very skeptical of what you wrote. I don’t believe that there were elementary school students allowed to walk out on their own. In at least one case in NYC, they were accompanied by parents and/or guardians.

          i am skeptical that there was any ostracism at any level for not walking out.

          and the ostracism that is taking place on this blog is by the right wingers, trashing and ostracizing the students who DID walk out.

        • Zulu says:

          Tim, that’s a load of baloney! As others here have mentioned, elementary school kids did not partake unless parents were willing to take the child out from the school for the protest. Nice try.

    6. Jonathan Segal says:

      These are great kids. All kids are our kids. I support them wholeheartedly.

    7. Judith Mitchell says:

      Brava, Bravo, BRAVI !!!!

    8. Nannette Gonnella says:

      Proud day for All of you! Warrior Up!💜💝

    9. Diamond says:

      Keep it up kids! This is how we brought about positive changes in the 60s. You can do would too!! Gun control with strict laws is a MUST. We all deserve to feel safe in our country and especially at school!
      So proud of you all!!! 👍

    10. Hortense van Uppity says:

      They get to cut class AND feel high and mighty about their “activism.” Sounds like a good day.

      • dannyboy says:

        Typically Hortense van Uppity.

      • Marci says:

        Did YOU have to worry about getting gunned down in your schools, Hortense? Because these kids do have to worry about that. And they have every right in the world to protest how easy it is for someone to get that gun to kill them with.

    11. Barbara says:

      So very proud of these young activists! Now Vote!

    12. A R SMith says:

      The NRA wonders how we managed to get so many “actors” to participate. Sean Hannity is confused, too.

      Can you say, “look at the handwriting on the wall…”

    13. Bravo! to these young people.

    14. Chrigid says:

      So the kids yelled, “No more violence,” and the fight stopped.

      On the verge of tears here.

    15. Ronci says:

      Much thanks to the students and the schools. Too bad it took so many martyrs to stir such activism.
      Best wishs

    16. Weird That Way says:

      This is a tipping point. I hope these young people stay involved and galvanized toward reforming our democracy, which is in trouble.

    17. natalie levy says:

      Thanks for the pictures. It is a beautiful lesson for kids that they have a voice, a voice that people will listen Thanks to all they teachers and administration people land to the wonderful children who cared enough to stand out on a cold cold day.

    18. Bruce Bernstein says:

      the kids are being effective… and hopefully will get an assault weapon ban, more extensive background checks, and other measures to stop the gun-nut insanity.

      their effectiveness is underlined by the minority of commenters above who are critical. these NRA sympathizers obviously feel the ground shifting under their feet.

    19. jezbel says:

      It’s thrilling to see a new generation of young Americans learning that the reigns of freedom are in their hands. #NeverAgain #EveryVoteCounts

    20. dannyboy says:

      You are recommending that students protest for harsher terms and more incarcerations?

      Do I hear the chant of “Lock ’em up, lock ’em up!”

    21. OriginalMark says:

      It’s entirely possible that they are protesting as part of a national movement and to show support.
      Apparently it surprises you that there are people out there who care about more than just themselves.

      • Christina says:

        Yes! It was part of a National movement! It was a National School Walk Out day!
        It’s great to see kids getting active again!

    22. OriginalMark says:

      It’s so easy to peg contemporary kids as lazy, self-absorbed, and ignorant.
      I sometimes fall into that intellectually lazy trap myself.
      But as I witness the ongoing response by kids across the country, and as I actually pay more attention to them, I’m often pleasantly surprised at their engagement, personalities, and open-mindedness..

    23. David says:

      Bravo, Scott! Your comment is spot-on in its accuracy!

    24. Isabella Calisi-Wagner says:

      A great display of our First Amendment.

    25. Zeus says:

      I was on 59th & 9th avenue at around 10:45.
      The kids were mrching, some with signs, screaming slogans against the NRA.
      It was good to see so many on the street,
      and then it happened.
      They crossed the street, against the light, and stopped in the middle of the cross walk, stopping traffic, and giving the fingers to the drivers who had the nerve to honk.
      I wonder how many knew what they are protesting against, really.
      And did it ever cross their minds that most of the killings by guns are done in the same places they live in, and these fire arms for sure are not legal, but are street bought.
      Nice to be demonstrating against violence, but it will be just as nice if they took the learning given to them for free as seriously as they did feeling so strong in numbers and basically not caring what their actions today brought to bystanders who happen to be where they themselves were.
      I wonder when they got back to class, if at all.
      Cheers America, we are what we eat.

      • OriginalMark says:

        Sometimes protests are messy and inconvenient.
        That’s one price of living in a free society.

        • Zeus says:

          Yes, as long as one respects the freedom of the other.
          In this particular case it seemed that the protesters were so high on not being in school, and their number gave them strength, enough to disregard others and their right to freedom of their choice, such as driving on public streets and not being stopped by unruly kids screaming and flipping the bird at them.

          • OriginalMark says:

            Oh dear, people had the bird flipped at them?
            They dealt with backed up traffic in Manhattan??
            I hope those snowflakes found the care they required at the closest emergency room and that they can heal through psychotherapy.

          • Tim says:

            Zeus, you’re spot-on. It’s ironic that these children demonstrated such disrespectful behaviour while protesting/memorializing/demonstrating/taking selfies. One wonders how many children would have shown up if this organized (it was NOT organic or spontaneous) political statement was done on a weekend and they would have had to sacrifice personal time.

            Food for thought 😉

            • dannyboy says:

              Tim, you and Zeus both got that food obsession: Zeus with his “Cheers America, we are what we eat.” and you with your: “Food for thought 😉”

              Here’s some “food for thought” for you:

              These were active participants in direct democracy.

              I’m proud of our middle and high school students, as well as others, for non-violently standing up to defend their generation against those who continue to shoot innocent youth.

              Many teachers and administrators supported students wanting to join the brief marches, encouraging students to stand up and speak out against gun violence.

              Each event had its own character. The rallies were relatively dignified and expressed a call to action.

              My feelings range from a mixture of sadness—because these students needed to protest—to appreciation for their bravery against those who threaten the Earth’s future.

            • OriginaMark says:

              Just curious – how many of these kids acted disrespectfully?

      • dannyboy says:

        “Cheers America, we are what we eat.”= Zeus

        You gotta’ let us in on your diet. I’m avoiding whatever you’re eating.

    26. Bob Lamm says:

      Hooray for these wonderful students in New York City and all across the U.S.

    27. jo says:

      This could be the beginning. . .

    28. Brenda says:

      I really don’t understand this surge of criticism of activism. Did something bad happen to you at a protest?

      When did social conscience become contentious?

      • boycottmarches says:

        Marching, walk-outs, sit-ins, boycotts, whatever the method, are useless unless people actually DO SOMETHING beyond making a verbal or printed statement. Today’s activism is trendy and diluted by social media. Hey look at me! I marched! I’m part of a movement that will be on the evening news and then forgotten by the masses until the same injustice I’m marching for happens again!

    29. THOMAS NEWTON says:

      As a retired NYC Teacher, it was a great pleasure to see so many students coming out for such a great cause! KEEP IT UP!

    30. Bravo says:

      Everyone is an activist these days but nobody actually DOES anything about the cause. Griping en masse won’t work.

      • OriginalMark says:

        I think you miss the point of protest.
        Protesting is a show of force and numbers – it demonstrates that there is public sentiment for a particular cause.
        No one thinks protest alone will change anything. It’s part of a larger picture.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        in response to Bravo:

        obviously you are not familiar with the history of mass movements, just like this one, in the US — and their vast accomplishments.

        Don’t insult the young adults doing this by reducing it to “griping.”

        • hopeless says:

          Bruce – obviously you are not familiar with the unrelenting grip that the NRA has on our elected politicians. Even after all of these walk outs we have seen how those responsible for policy change have already buckled to their immense power. These protests will do nothing when our government is effectively run by these organizations. Good luck with the marches and protests. They send important messages that fall on deaf ears.

          • Zulu says:

            It’s terrible when even hope is gone, and you’re willing to give yourself in. Good luck to you.

      • Zulu says:

        Oh but it does. These kids will eventually become voters and the future will be decided by the seeds planted during these “en masse gripes”.

      • dannyboy says:

        You takin’ revolution?

    31. Irena says:

      Seeing these young people take action gives me hope for the future. Hopefully they will create the change that is so desperately needed in our country.

      Our country’s future literally depends on the young people fighting to retain our democracy and the rights of those to live free in a democracy.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Our country’s future literally depends on the young people fighting to retain our democracy and the rights of those to live free in a democracy.” – Irena

        That’s a lot to put on our children. Resist!

      • Hippie Billy says:

        You’re so right!!!! Not like their parents that never gave a shit!
        God bless the kids today and they’re on the right path…get out there say what you wanna say and do what you want to do and screw the conservatives.

    32. Sam Koo says:

      unreherarsed spontaneous nationwide youth movement always scares the elected.
      Yes, the timing is perfect.
      Let’s get the handguns, assault weapons.

    33. Billythehippie says:

      I’m so happy that the kids are doing what they should be doing sticking up to there rights and protest… The only thing is…I feel so sorry for this generation what they have to go through with the violence in the school nothing what we went through but I’m happy for them that they are protesting not like their lazy parents and their grand parents that never did or do anything but sit on there fat ass and leaving it up to us in the 60s hippies to change the world… God bless the kids today get out there and don’t take any shit, speak your mind saying what you need to say and what you want to say get out and protest it’s your right. Believe me it’s the only way. Get rid of these conservatives bastards .

    34. dannyboy says:

      Stay tuned for at least two more nationwide protests on March 24 and April 20, as students continue to gather steam and define their movement and

      Happy St Patrick’s everyone!

    35. BILLYTHEHIPPIE/BILLYNYC says:

      I’m so happy being part of this big movement against guns in the second amendment this Saturday March 24th in Washington DC —/ in support of this movement I have donated twenty four 56pax passenger buses to the Westchester schools of Pelham Eastchester Bronxville Rye Mamaroneck and Larchmont for the day round trip to DC .