Student groups plan campus walkouts after Texas school shooting

Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - In the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed, students across the country are once again planning to walk out as a form of political action against gun violence.

The non-profit Students Demand Action, a subsidiary of Everytown for Gun Safety, have registered a call to action that students, parents, teachers and school staff walk out of their classrooms and campuses on Thursday (May 26) at 12 pm Eastern time.

At least 80 events are scheduled to take place on Thursday, according to an Everytown directory.

Protests are also planned for the weekend of May 28, as well as the week of May 30, with several actions slated for June 1 and during Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 3.

Groups including Moms Demand Action, Youth for Beto, and a local Black Lives Matter chapter are also planning to protest the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Houston, Texas, on Memorial Day weekend.

The collective action follows years of walkouts and organising by students, notably the March for Our Lives rallies that drew an estimated 1.2 million protesters in the wake of the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

"We won't accept a country where gunfire can ring out at any moment, whether it's while grocery shopping at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, a party in San Bernardino, or graduations across the country," organisers for Students Demand Action wrote on their website. "We deserve more."

According to Everytown for Gun Research, gun violence on school campuses disproportionately affects schools with higher enrollment rates for students of color, and particularly Black students.

March for Our Lives was founded by Stoneman Douglas students in the wake of the 2018 shooting.

Mr David Hogg, one of the organisation's founders, also suggested that people stage vigils at local elementary schools on Thursday night.

A representative for Students Demand Action said walkouts also occurred on high school campuses in Oregon and Vermont on Wednesday.

Ms Maddie Ahmadi, a 17-year-old from Essex Junction, Vermont, and a national advisory board member for Students Demand Action, said she could not remember the first time she participated in a lockdown drill, because they have been a tentpole of her entire school career.

"We have become so desensitised to them," she said.

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Several hundred students and local lawmakers showed up to her school's walkout on Wednesday, she said, adding that she believes it's critical that lawmakers pay attention to the walkouts, as well as the demand of future voters.

"Legislators need to keep in mind that if we can't vote now, they need to listen because we will be able to vote eventually," she said.

"And if they are not hearing us and they are not passing common sense gun legislation, we are going to vote them out of office. And if they are hearing us, they will likely have our support."

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