Why Is The National School Walkout On April 20? This Date Holds A Lot Of Significance
You can expect to see thousands of students rally against gun violence as they mark the National School Walkout day on April 20. The original founder of the rally, Lane Murdock, is a student at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, and has spoken about her goal to put pressure on lawmakers so they can work on better gun control legislation.
In April, Murdock told ABC News that she was compelled by the recent school shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to speak out against mass shootings. The shooting killed 17 people on Valentine's Day in Parkland, Florida, and has since sparked rallies, marches, and protests against what critics call America's gun problem.
The Ridgefield High School student noted that the National School Walkout rally also marks the anniversary of the devastating Columbine High School shooting that took place in Colorado in 1999. The shooting killed 13 people after two students used firearms on campus. "We live in a kind of desensitized country," Murdock told ABC News. "After reflecting on my own lack of emotion, seeing how wrong our country is, the fact that this keeps on happening... I felt so helpless.... I knew I needed to do something," she noted.
Murdock said she wanted to bring a change to society. "I started to think to myself, 'What can I do to change the narrative?'" she said. "But also, 'What can I do to give people who maybe don't have as much time on their hands as I do, to give them that power?'"
According to ABC News, over 2,000 events for the National School Walkout have been registered. Every state will hold at least one walkout on April 20. But the protest goes beyond the United States; the news outlet said that some international rallies will also take place in the name of the demonstration.
The National School Walkout rally will hold 13 seconds of silence for the victims of the Columbine High School shooting. After that, Murdock told ABC News, organizers of different high school rallies have the freedom to shape the style and content of their own protests. She said they're free to bring speakers to their platforms and help students with voter registration. Some protesters intend to write to the survivors of shootings, according to Murdock.
Logistics-wise, it's similar to the National School Walkout that took place on March 14. Students from various high schools will walk out of their campuses and carry out a rally against gun violence. But the National School Walkout on April 20 is different from the previous rally when it comes to its length.
The walkout will start at 10 in the morning for different time zones for different states. But while the March 14 rally commemorated the lives of the 17 victims of the Stoneman Douglas shooting by taking place for 17 minutes, the April 20 rally will last a full school day.
Murdock said that the length of the walkout is deliberate. "This is a problem that needs to be addressed longer than 17 minutes," Murdock told ABC News. "As a student who can't vote, you don't have a lot of power. But what you have that's powerful is your voice, your thoughts, but also your attendance," she said.
While some may think that students will be wasting precious time and resources by staying out of school for a whole day, Murdock said that it's an effective way to get heard in the United States. "Leaving for longer than 17 minutes, leaving and breaking up that schedule that all American students have every day is how you get people to pay attention," the young student said.