On the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., students across the country walked out of their schools to raise awareness for school safety and gun control.
Led by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, news of the #NeverAgain demonstration spread quickly through social media among students frustrated by the lack of progress in protecting them over the gun lobby arm of the NRA.
Most of the walkouts observed silence for 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost at the Parkland shooting. Although stricter gun laws have been proposed in Florida, only Senate Bill 7026 passed on Friday. The law allows teachers to bear arms in school and raises the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 from 18.
However, this large show of activism opens the dialogue beyond local politics. States outside Florida will have to face their students if their demands for better safety remains unanswered.
The walkout could prove to be a turning point in the gun control debate. Many of the high schoolers walking out today are on the cusp of voting, and it’s likely many who participated in the demonstration won’t soon forget it.
Congress planned to take modest steps Wednesday to prevent violence in classrooms — even as they continued to battle over broader action to curb gun rights.
In the House, lawmakers are set to pass the STOP School Violence Act of 2018, introduced by Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), a former sheriff from Jacksonville, Fla., and co-sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), whose district includes Parkland. More than 30 lawmakers in both parties back the bill. A similar bill by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
The bill reauthorizes a program created in 2001 through the Justice Department to prevent threats against school. That would include the following:-
• Authorize $50 million to intensify school security
• Pay for federal “threat assessment teams” to help school districts sort through reported threats.
• Create an anonymous reporting system so that students and others can report threats and pay for training and technical assistance programs for law enforcement and school officials to help identify potentially violent behavior.
Still, the bill says nothing about firearms, which is a top demand of Stoneman Douglas students. They are pushing for consideration of a proposed federal ban on military-style rifles and a revamp of the national criminal background check system that failed to pass five years ago in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.
Follow this list of Post reporters covering the walkouts across the country for the latest updates.