Thousands of students at high schools and middle schools throughout Atlanta walked out of classes Wednesday, March 14, joining their peers across the nation in a national student protest against gun violence.
Unlike many other school districts, the students who did so at Atlanta Public Schools had the blessing of administrators, who noted the city’s long history of support for peaceful civil protest.
“As the birthplace and school district of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Atlanta Public Schools takes seriously our responsibility to prepare our students to succeed beyond high school and to help them become well-rounded individuals equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary for actively engaging in society,” APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen wrote recently in a blog post (located at https://atlsuper.com/2018/02/22/atlanta-has-always-embraced-peaceful-civic-engagement-and-so-will-aps). “And, as someone who was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, I have a personal appreciation and respect for the impact civic engagement can have on social change. To support student engagement around a national dialogue on National School Walkout Day, our schools will work with our students on these issues and work with student leaders to develop a structured plan that will be implemented during that 17-minute time frame.”
Students across America participated in the National School Walkout memorial protest a month after a gunman shot and killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school. The students are also joining a growing protest movement over gun violence and the demand for stricter gun laws, such as those that would have prevented Nikolas Cruz from buying the AR-15 rifle he is accused of using in the Florida shooting. They also are calling for a raise in the minimum age to buy a gun as well as stricter background checks.
(This article was reprinted from the East Atlanta Patch, March 14, 2018.)