Thousands of Chicago-area students took part in a nationwide walkout from school on Wednesday, calling for immediate action to prevent gun violence.
Wednesday marked the one-month anniversary of the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and several others wounded.
Students at schools across the country and all around the Chicago area left school at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes – one minute for each of the victims killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In the weeks following the massacre in Florida, students from across Chicago and the suburbs have joined the movement pushing for legislation reforming gun laws at the federal and state level.
Wednesday’s walkout was planned to inspire change, giving young people an opportunity to speak out and for students to express their frustration at inaction, organizers said.
The walkout also raised questions for schools about how to handle the protests, with the approach varying depending on the district. Education administrators have said they’re striking a delicate balance between encouraging civic engagement and keeping their students safe.
The head of Chicago Public Schools said guidance was given to teachers on the protest, calling it a critical moment for the country. CPS students who chose to participate in the walkout will not face any punishment from the district, administrators said.
The protest came just one day after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill to license gun dealers in Illinois, calling it “onerous” regulation.