Students Walk Out In Response To Stoneman Douglas Shooting

Annette Gonzalez, multimedia editor

On Wednesday, February 21, a crowd of students gathered around the pawvillion to protest against gun violence. The event was planned out on social media and took place not only at most public schools and some private schools in the Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but also nationwide.

Amongst the crowd was senior Cecilia Campillo, who wrote an open letter to congress about gun control.

“I have a blog I started when I was a freshman to educate and inform kids on current events and issues that are happening, which I used as a platform to write an open letter to congress,” Campillo said. “Because [the shooting at Stoneman Douglas] was so close to home and personally affected me I felt like this should be the time to talk about this. People should not wait around anymore for change, we should start the change.”

The protest started during second lunch, and for some ran into after school hours. At about noon, the pawvillion consisted of people holding up signs and chanting “I call B.S.” and “what do we want, gun control, when do we want it, now.”

Amidst all the chaos, Campillo attempted to read her open letter aloud. Standing next to her was freshman Nicole Markus who was holding a sign that said “How many have to die?”

“Gun control is something that we need because it could have just as easily been us and just because it wasn’t us doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen to us in the future,” Marcus said. “We need to protest because we need to be heard. No one has been listening to us and now everybody is. We don’t want this to fade away like everything else does.”

From the pawvillion, the crowd loosely moved to panther square before splitting up into two and heading to the exit facing the teacher’s parking lot. At around this time, the bell signaling the end of second lunch rang and security guards and administration ordered protesters to go to fifth period. Instead, the protesters chose to rush to the nearest open exit next to the auditorium.

Once outside of the school, the crowd began to march along 118th street and continued to circle around the perimeter of the school. When the protesters reached 120th street a few students decided to abandon the school and cross the street leading to US1, while the rest of the group entered the school through the field.

From there, protesters inside the school were forced to stay in the cafeteria until fifth period ended. When the bell rang for sixth period, security and administration began letting out students: first those who had sixth period Florida Virtual School, then those with school IDs and finally those without.

“They started writing down our names and our ID numbers without really telling us why except that it was for our safety,” senior Sofia Mesa said. “The protest was successful as in it got a lot of people’s attention. Hopefully these numbers will send a message to congress and the rest of the United States.”