Students at Lower Merion High School, Harriton High School, Welsh Valley Middle School and Bala Cynwyd Middle School all took part in walkouts to draw attention to the issue of school safety on Wednesday morning, March 14. The rallies were in response to a call for action issued by survivors of the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, exactly one month ago.
The peaceful, student-organized events featured moments of silence in memory of the students killed in Parkland and speakers on the topics of gun violence and legislative action. Estimates are that 50% to 85% of students in each of the schools participated.
At Lower Merion High School, students – many dressed in orange to show solidarity with the students from Parkland - walked around the building carrying signs before the rally outside the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium. Speakers included: Sydney Barton (9th), Ava Clifford (9th), Maayan Barasad (9th), Lily Kemler (11th), Aidan Dutwin (9th), Bethany Eldridge (12th), and Kate Harte-McCormick (12th). The rally was followed by learning sessions on how to contact legislators and how to register to vote. Interested students also took part in an in-depth discussion about gun legislation.
Teachers with classes scheduled during the rally continued to teach students who chose not to participate in the walkouts. Students who did walk out will not face disciplinary action, but will be expected to make up any missed assignments. During the rallies, the campuses were closed to all but students and district staff for security reasons. After the conclusion of the student-led activities, classes resumed.