Students stand up to gun violence despite district crackdown

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Catherine Gagulashvili culture editor

On March 14 at 9:57 a.m., approximately 500 students walked out against gun violence. Over a month later, students on campus are still driven to fight against gun violence and will partake in a walkout, that is student-organized and not backed by the administration, on April 20.

The April 20 walkout is the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine School shooting. In memorial of this event, a group of sophomores has joined together with students from other high schools in the Los Angeles area to form the Los Angeles Student Action Coalition (LASAC). Together, they have organized a walkout and protest at Santa Monica City Hall at 11 a.m. The administration has made it clear that walking out during school hours is a violation of the district’s attendance policy, and therefore, consequences of leaving school for this event will be equivalent to those of receiving an unexcused absence.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy sent out an email to students and parents in order to elucidate administration’s stance on this event and the repercussions of participating.

“While our school district supports the first amendment rights of our students, our top priority–as always–is to maintain a safe environment. If a student feels compelled to protest about any topic that is important to them, we encourage students to select an event and time that does not interrupt their learning or potentially cause a disruption at school,” Bregy wrote.

The organizers of the walkout realize that the idea of missing school could be a deterrent for some students, but believe that attending the walkout is a worthy cause.

“Some people take school very seriously and missing a day for something other than being sick is a big deal, but this is something bigger. I think it’s more important than a day of school; this is our lives. [Ultimately,] it’s up to them. We can’t force anyone to come,” sophomore Ryan Biehl said.

Despite any ramifications, the organizers of the walkout think it’s important to bring attention to gun violence and do everything they can to fight it.

“I think walkouts are really important to keep people passionate and keep people involved in the movement and also to bring attention to ourselves,” sophomore Penelope Lapaglia said. [We’re] saying that we’re not going to back down this time.”

Biehl simply hopes that they will be able to get people to show up to the walkout and demand an end to gun violence.

“I’m hoping that people show up and they show up because they truly care and not because [they want to miss school,]” Biehl said. “I’m hoping we get a lot of people to show up and really just show our leaders that we want change.”

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