Students across the U.S. are planning to walk out of schools in protest after the shooting in South Florida, USA Today reports. The pleas from young voices who survived the massacre in Parkland, Fl., have brought new pressure to an old debate over gun control.
A walkout in South Florida on Friday and a rally in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday helped start the campaign. Other protests are planned in coming weeks, including one to mark the 19th year since Colorado’s Columbine High School massacre. “We are the students, we are the victims, we are change, fight gun violence now!” student organizers wrote for one event.
“High School students across the U.S.A, the way to fight back is here. There has been too much complacency on the part of politicians when it comes to gun violence. The time to act is now!”
On March 14, one month after the Florida shooting, organizers ask students and teachers to walk out of schools at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes, to honor the 17 lives lost in Florida. More than 22,000 people have signed a petition, pledging to walk out of their classrooms that day at 10 a.m. for the rest of the day.
“Nothing has changed since Columbine, let us start a movement that lets the government know the time for change is now,” organizers wrote on change.org.
Meanwhile, the couple who took in school shooter Nikolas Cruz after his mother died in November says he was depressed but seemed to be getting happier. They are baffled at how he became one of the deadliest teen killers in history. “We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The Sneads had no idea the FBI was warned about him, nor that many students considered him a threat.