Meet some of the Illinois students behind Wednesday’s school walkouts for gun reform – Chicago Tribune


High school students across Illinois will join a national walkout at 10 a.m. Wednesday to mark the one month anniversary of the fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

In the weeks since the massacre that left 17 dead, the teen survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have become vocal advocates for gun reform, spurring a nationwide #NeverAgain movement to fight for policies that would prevent future mass shootings. In Illinois, students from across the city, suburbs and state have joined the far-reaching movement to end gun violence with a gusto some school administrators say they haven’t seen in decades.

As students organize mass walkouts, educators have been left to strike a delicate balance between encouraging young people’s civic engagement and the need to keep them safe.

While schools have the right to discipline students for not being present in class, many school officials across the city and suburbs have worked with student organizers to plan walkouts that are safe, meaningful and nonpolitical. Local student leaders, who acknowledge that the gun debate is complex, hope Wednesday’s walkouts will show that they are determined to be a part of an ongoing discussion.