CHICAGO (CBS) — Students at Schaumburg and Oak Park and River Forest High Schools joined peers across the nation in a walkout Wednesday to draw attention to the cause of stricter gun control, particularly in regard to greater school safety.
The planned observation was scheduled to fall exactly one week after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.
Students walked out of their buildings at noon, with some carrying signs that read, “We are students. We are victims. We are change.”
One group of female Oak Park and River Forest students said they heard about the event through social media.
“We have a gigantic school, and this affects not only the kids who are in Florida and the surrounding area, but everybody who is part of a school and who is part of an educational community,” one 15-year-old girl said. “Kids shouldn’t be afraid to go to school.”
Several students said they hope the walkouts catch national attention and ignite the conversation regarding gun control laws. Everyone CBS 2 spoke to said their aim boils down to one thing: change.
Parents also showed up to participate in the demonstration. One mother, who has had five children attend OPRF, said she was there to support the kids.
“It looks like it’s going to be the kids who save us. To see the kids rise up — that’s what our answer is, that’s the solution,” she said. “We have to have an uprising against this, or nothing will change. We just can’t stand here anymore.”
Oak Park and River Forest High School Principal Nathaniel Rouse said the school’s goal was not to stop students from walking out. “They have a right to peacefully protest.”
“This is a perfect chance for us to really show that we are, as an age group, are paying attention to what’s going on,” another OPRF student said.
Similar walkouts are planned for the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting on March 14.