By Kaitlin Englund
Schools across Cook, DuPage and Lake County will walk out on March 14 in solidarity with students across the nation who are protesting gun violence.
The national call for school walkouts follows the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student killed 17 people using an AR-15 assault rifle.
Hundreds of schools across the nation and some across the world will participate in the walkout at 10 a.m. local time. The demonstrations will last for 17 minutes to honor each of the victims in Parkland.
More than 40 elementary, middle and high schools in the area are registered as part of the ENOUGH: National School Walkout movement sponsored by The Women’s March Youth EMPOWER.
Additionally, some groups in the area will be hosting walks in solidarity with the students.
Parents of students at Lake Bluff Middle School will gather across the street at Artesian Park to support the students demonstrating.
Parents of children in Community Consolidated School District 181 elementary schools will be checking out their students and marching to Burns Field where there will be stations encouraging civic engagement, such as congressional candidates speaking to children about having a political voice, a rally poster design station, lawmaker letter- writing station and more.
Also, the Faith Community of St. Sabina will host a gathering at Renaissance Park for community members to show solidarity with the students. The organization is also asking that the community add an additional minute of demonstration for the Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer and two minutes for all victims of gun violence in Chicago.
While many schools have registered their walkout as part of the movement, some schools are not actively participating but will provide safeguards for students who choose to participate.
North Shore School District 112 sent a letter to parents saying they will not participate in the walkout because of their young student population and difficulties providing adequate supervision and protection during the event. However, the district will excuse absences for students whose parents notify the school in advance of their participation.
The demonstrations on March 14 will not be the last, as some students and schools are preparing for another high school walkout on April 20 – the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999.
Continuing with the recent momentum, the organization March for Our Lives will sponsor marches across the nation on March 24 advocating for gun reform. Local marches will be held in Chicago, Downers Grove and Elgin at 11 a.m.