The Walkout Was a Serious Risk For Many Students. They Did It Anyway.

Students participate in a walkout to protest gun violence, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Prospect Park in the Brooklyn borough of New York, one month after the deadly shooting inside a high school in Parkland, Fla.
Photo: AP (Mark Lennihan)

Aminah Glenn, a high school junior from Chicago, was one of five students detained by the Chicago Police Department while participating in a national student walkout to combat gun violence and support gun control. Though reports soon surfaced that she was released without criminal charges, the ordeal showed the stakes of today’s events for many students, particularly students of color, taking the risk of walking out.

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Your timelines are probably filled with photos and videos of students taking to the streets to protest gun violence; some had the full support of their schools, some police departments even characterized their presence on school campuses as supporting student safety. But many of the nation’s teens were threatened with real consequences—suspension and even arrest—for participating in the walkout.

Some students were reportedly greeted with school officials and police officers blocking them from leaving campus:

Other schools reportedly threatened to cancel student activities for those who participated in the walkout:

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And other schools tried, quite literally, to lock students in:

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Some schools attempted to replace the designated 17-minute walkout with an activity:

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Several students tweeted about being suspended:

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This is a moment, and a movement, with real energy and widespread public support. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a struggle—and a risk—for the teenagers behind it.

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About the author

Ashley Reese

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.