Hundreds of students walked out of class at 10 a.m. Wednesday to show support for the 17 people shot Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL.
Nicholas Cruz, the suspect in the shooting, was taken into custody and is facing the death penalty.
Students from a number of area high schools are expected to participate in the walkout– including those at Case, Park, Horlick and a number of other schools. According to CNN, EMPOWER, the organizing the national effort, are calling on Congress to take steps to reduce gun violence.
- Ban assault weapons
- Require universal background checks before gun sales
- Pass a gun violence restraining order law that would allow courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behavior
The National Rifle Association opposes these measures and is backing Sen.
Orin Hatch (R-Utah) proposed the STOP School Violence Act.
The STOP School Violence Act will fund four initiatives.
- First, it will provide grant funding for evidence-based training to prevent student violence against others and self, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students. This is not just active shooter training but training designed to give students and teachers the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of school violence.
- Second, the bill will fund evidence-based technology and equipment to improve school security and prevent violent attacks. This includes the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems like the Safe Utah app, as well as improvements to school security infrastructure to deter and respond to threats of violence. And when prevention efforts fall short—as they, unfortunately, will in some cases—locks on classroom doors, reinforced entryways, and other commonsense security infrastructure improvements will help limit the violence.
- Third, the bill will provide funding for the development and operation of evidence-based school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams, which may include evidence-based training for school officials in responding to mental health crises. Again, school personnel need the tools to assess and respond to threats before they materialize, including those threats that originate from individuals struggling with mental health issues.
- Finally, the bill will provide funding for continued coordination with local law enforcement. Law enforcement alone cannot prevent school violence—just as no amount of prevention training, security infrastructure improvements, or mental health resources would be able to singularly prevent tragedies like that in Parkland. But law enforcement, and in particular, those officers who already staff schools, have an important role to play in any comprehensive solution to prevent school violence.
According to the NRA: “In every community in America, there are programs that would help prevent school violence before it happens. Congress needs to immediately pass legislation, like the STOP School Violence Act, to give these programs the critical funding they need.”
President Donald Trump promised students that he would consider the requests, but he backpedaled from that stance and is instead pushing for states to decide on age restrictions, according to a story by the New York Times.
Students at Case High School made a video about the issue.