Thousands of students left schools across the nation Friday as part a national walkout. Occurring on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the event is particularly poignant this year, thanks to advocacy by the survivors of a more recent tragedy. Parkland students are tweeting about the National School Walkout, offering their support and solidarity with the event's aims.
Though Friday's walkout was organized by Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore in Connecticut, the Parkland teens are familiar with the concept. They were responsible for the March 14 walkout, which saw more than 1 million students participate across the country.
The Parkland teens are enthusiastically supporting Friday's walkout, seeing it as a way to keep momentum up and the pressure on for gun control reform. CBS Miami spoke with David Hogg, one of the most visible survivors of the mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. He told the station that Stoneman Douglas and Columbine are "in a fraternity that nobody wants to be a part of." Hogg went on to say, "We have to stand up together and work together to solve this issue. Not as Republicans and Democrats, not as students and parents, but as Americans."
That's a sentiment shared by many Parkland teens in tweets Friday.
One striking fact came up more than once in tweets from Parkland teens — that most students in high school today had not even been born yet when the shooting at Columbine occurred. Stoneman Douglas senior Kyra Parrow wrote, "PSA: most of the seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas were not alive when the Columbine massacre happened." She wrote in a previous tweet that "it’s hard to believe after 19 years, the same thing happened to my school" and asked, "When will change come?"
Other Parkland students emphasized the increasing frequency of school shootings. President of his high school's improv club, Ryan Deitsch wrote "all we can do is rise up" as other people "continue to fall day by day." Sophie Witney, an Stoneman Douglas senior, noted that "there was a shooting at Forest High School in Ocala, not too far from us" on Friday. "This is why we walked out," she continued. "It keeps happening."
Jaclyn Corin, one of the Parkland students recently featured as on Time's "100 Most Influential People," highlighted the change effected by Justin Blackman. Though he was the sole student at his high school to walk out on March 14, "today he has some friends behind him," Corin wrote. She linked to Blackman's own tweet, featuring a picture of himself with dozens of other students standing outside.
Cameron Kasky, another student who made it into Time's "100 Most Influential People" issue, tweeted that he was "so proud" of all the students protesting and encouraged the to "NEVER settle for less." His fellow Time honoree Emma Gonzalez tweeted a picture of herself wearing an orange jumpsuit (the color chosen for National School Walkout Day) and noted that schools are coming to resemble prisons, another tie-in for the jumpsuit hue.
And Hogg, who — along with Alex Wind — rounds out the five Stoneman Douglas students highlighted by Time, participated in the walkout and tweeted several videos of Parkland teens organizing outside school walls. In one message, he asked, "Why should we be expected to work in school when our elected officials won't work to ensure safety and security of our citizens, children and future?"
Friday's National School Walkout has more than 2,500 events registered across the nation, all but guaranteeing a huge rate of participation. If the enthusiasm from the teens in Parkland is indication, Friday could mark the largest student walkout in recent memory.