On March 14, thousands of students in Minnesota joined others around the country in a school walkout to demand stricter gun laws. The 17-minute protest was to remember the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month. We asked students why they did or did not participate.

 

I walked out because thoughts and prayers are not enough. Thoughts and prayers cannot give back children to families that lost them, and action is the only way to achieve that. These children that have already died because of the lack of preventative [gun] laws cannot be brought back, but if legislation is passed, we hopefully will not have to do another protest like this. It is honestly sad that we are still trying to convince politicians that more guns are not the answer. Honestly, the fact that America seems to love their guns more than they love their children demonstrates exactly what is the problem. I walked out because I care.

Grace Chapdelaine, Grade 10, Edina High School

No, I didn’t. Usually, I’m always in support of walkouts, but not this time. I can’t help but feel like in this instance, students are clueless about what they’re actually protesting. If I walked into that crowd and asked them if they knew what an AR-15 was, I’d get the answer “assault rifle.”

Jake Yaeger, Grade 11, Richfield High School

I have lived with the threat of gun violence my entire life. That was normal to me. I was born a year after the Columbine shooting and lived to see it fade into insignificance as a new wave of atrocities came rolling in. Every one of them was a national tragedy, but our United States government does nothing. Why? Because a war industry has its hand in their pockets. But I marched today because no amount of NRA bribes can keep me silent anymore. There are millions of people like me, all equally endangered, all equally ready for change. We’re louder than any lobby or militia, and we aren’t going to stop until our country finally takes itself to task and implements substantial gun control.

Alexander Robbins Mundahl, Grade 11, Hopkins High School

I participated in today’s national school walkout because politicians are not taking our safety seriously and care more about selling than this country’s children’s safety. I walked out because I believe it’s absurd to bring more weapons into a learning environment where anyone could get their hand on it from a 5-year-old to a teenager and use it against their peers. I walked out because I don’t want my 5-year-old brother to lose his childhood and instead live in fear of a shooting. I walked so parents won’t need to worry if sending people to school will benefit their children or endanger them. Civilians have no need for military-grade weapons and they should not have access to them.

Luna Moreno, Grade 11, Minnetonka High School

I participated in today’s #ENOUGH National School Walkout because enough is enough. How many innocent children need to die for our lawmakers to understand that something needs to change? Guns have no use other than to kill so why is it so easy to access them and what makes our “president” think that supplying even more guns to teachers and having guns within our schools will help the problem? It was an amazing sight, seeing all of Washburn’s and Justice Page’s students joining together to speak out and stand up for our safety and what we want and need.

Piper Kondes, Grade 10, Washburn High School