Students join forces for national school walkout

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  • At the start of advisory, droves of students walked out towards the band parking lot.

  • Students showed up to the walkout with signs.

  • Many students walked out during advisory on Friday, April 20, 2018 as a part of National School Walkout Day.

  • The League of Women Voters of Collin County handed out pamphlets with information on voting.

  • Students wait their turn to sign up for voter registration reminds.

  • Junior and organizer Amina Syeda tells students about her experience as a young student living in Connecticut during the Sandy Hook shooting.

  • Juniors Sriti Donthi, Shreya Valaboju, and Haniah Bashir hold up a sign.

  • Junior and organizer Ria Bhasin rally the students.

  • Organizer Dena Asaad talks to the students about the goal of the walkout.

  • Students walk back to school after the walkout.

  • Holding her sign above her head, sophomore Kia Dunlop expresses her view regarding gun control as part of the National School Walkout on Friday, April 20, 2018.

Immediately after the bell that signaled the start of Friday’s advisory period, more than 200 students gathered in the rotunda and followed student organizers out to the band parking lot as a part of National School Walkout Day. Faculty was also present in the parking lot, working to direct incoming traffic and ensure student safety.

Roy Nitzan
Junior Dena Asaad delivers her speech as fellow organizers Aarti Poduval and Priya Nalliah listen.

“I think it went better than I expected,” organizer, junior Dena Asaad said. “I thought there’s going to be a lot more kind of protests and I was scared there was gonna be a fight break out as did with other schools but for the most part it went really well. We really were able to unify the students and that was the whole goal.”

Many of the student organizers such as junior Aarti Poduval gave speeches with a megaphone to the crowd of students.

“This walkout went a lot better than I expected,” Poduval said. “I expected there to be a lot of people but it was just amazing to see so many people today supporting gun control and common sense reform so I’m very happy with the results today.”

Although the walkout may be over, the organizers say that this is only the beginning.

Roy Nitzan
Students show support for the shooting victims at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“We’re planning on meeting together, all the district leaders, to kind of talk about how, when and if there was anything wrong,” Asaad said. “And I know for sure we’re not going to stop talking to each other. We’re gonna try putting other political things that we want to solve. I know some of us are going on to send it to the March for Science and I know maybe if there’s an NRA meeting. So we’re probably going to go there and protest.”

Some participants believe the walkout is a channel for student activism.

“I think student activism is very important and it’s very necessary,” freshman Annelise Best said. “It revolutionizes the way teenagers are seen in American society. We are a group of very intelligent, very powerful young people and I think it’s important that the rest of the country see that.”

Voter registration stands were also available for seniors who would soon be eligible to vote.

Roy Nitzan
Students hold up signs while listening to the speakers at the front of the band parking lot.

“We are the next generation to vote, to have our own ideas,” senior Armaan Ali said. “It’s very important that we have independent thinking instead of having politicians do it for us.”

For junior Lauren Kim, it was moving to see the diverse school body come together.

“I think that it’s very motivational and inspirational just to see so many people come out and it really makes you feel like you’re a part of-we’re like one body, we’re really unified because in our day-to-day life we’re just doing our own thing but to see so many students coming together and be one voice,” Kim said. “I think that’s very encouraging and it makes us feel like we have a voice and we can do something about it.”

Although not everyone may agree with the message of the walkout, Asaad is grateful for the dialogue.

“I really appreciate everyone to come out and state their opinion, no matter what you believe in, if you were pro-gun controller or anti-gun control the whole goal is communication,” Asaad said. “In order for us to solve it we must communicate with one another and it’s good that we’re able to unify the student body for a cause.”