Local students participate in National School Walkout to protest gun violence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Students from the Kansas City metro participated in the National School Walkout, a massive rally of more than 2,500 schools across the United States demanding action on gun reform. 

“The main message for us is common sense gun reform,” Pembroke Hill High School junior Jancyn Appel said. “We don't want to take people's guns away, but we also don't want to have weapons of war out in the streets and in our schools.”

“We can't just sit here and just watch all this happen,” Bishop Miege sophomore Sydney Messick said.

According to CNN, this year alone there’s been 20 school-related shootings in the U.S. 

“We've all become so numb to it,” Appel said. “It's been one of those, oh another one of those happens, which is sad.”

The event was held on April 20 to also mark the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

Three walkouts planned in the Kansas City area included Blue Valley Northwest, Shawnee Mission West and a Midtown walkout with several schools participating.

According to a news release, students from at least 10 schools intended to participate in the Midtown walkout:

  • Park Hill South High School
  • Park Hill High School
  • Pembroke Hill High School
  • Center High School
  • Winnetonka High School
  • Blue Springs South High School
  • Bishop Miege High School
  • Lincoln College Preparatory Academy
  • Shawnee Mission East High School
  • Oak Park High School

The Shawnee Mission West walkout was scheduled for 10 a.m., according to an article on the school’s newspaper website.

The story also stated students would meet on the football field for 17 minutes (one minute for each victim of the Parkland, Florida, shooting), and would not face school discipline if they participated. 

Organizers of this walkout asked students to wear orange, which is the color used by the national campaign and is also the official color of the anti-gun violence movement, according to the article.

The school resource officer at Blue Vally Northwest said the school was aware of a planned walkout but said it was not a school-sponsored activity.

He said school leaders have been working with student organizers to provide a “safe, supervised space while students remain on our campus.”

The Blue Valley Northwest walkout was scheduled to take place at 10 a.m., when students would walk to the front lawn of the school and then to an outdoor classroom to hear speeches. 

Organizers at BVNW said students could go back into the school at 11 a.m. if they wanted to. Students who did not return to class would have an unexcused absence counted against them since it was not a school-endorsed activity.

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