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Connecticut News

Thousands Of Students Stage Nationwide Walkout To End Gun Violence

High school students on Long Island and in Connecticut walked out of their classes today in solidarity with students around the country in a nationwide call for legislative action to end gun violence in schools.

Students from Warren G. Harding High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, were joined in their walkout by the school’s principal, superintendent and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim.

They filed out of class at 10 a.m. and gathered around the goal posts on the school’s football field. An organizer asked students how many had lost someone to gun violence – more than half the hands went up.

Credit Christian Carter / WSHU
High schoolers from Harding High listen to speakers, while standing on the football field during the walkout. Many of the students have first-hand experience with gun violence, which has reached record highs in recent years.

Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson said she was impressed by her students. “I’m proud of their civic engagement, proud of their activism, and their leadership. This was really well-organized today, the message was clear and I can see this work continuing beyond today.”

On Long Island, hundreds of students at Herricks High School in Nassau County also left class at 10 a.m. and stayed out for 17 minutes, each minute for a victim of the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

Stephanie LaPlante, a senior at Herricks, helped to organize the event at her school. “Schools can only do so much, and our school has done a lot. And really the change we want to see goes beyond that. It goes to legislators, because teachers and administrators can only protect us so much. We need to see some sort of change beyond that for us to truly be safe.”

Credit Jasmine Garoosi / Herricks High School
Herricks High School
Marching straight out of school with their coats and backpacks on, Herricks High School students listen to their fellow students call for congressional action on gun violence.

Aashna Brahmbhatt, another senior who helped organize the event, said, “We’re not naive, we don’t think that one event is going to change the world. But we do think that if we continue having these conversations, then hopefully very soon we’ll never have to do this again.”

School officials at Herricks made room in the day’s schedule for the walkout, but other schools on Long Island and around the country threatened disciplinary action for students who left class.