Gateway High School students to protest gun violence in national walkout
Gateway High School students have set their sights on gun violence and school safety by committing to participate in a nationwide protest Wednesday.
Gateway is just one school in the region and nation that will participate in the walkout intended to last 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of Feb. 14's Parkland, Fla. massacre where a former student killed 17 students and injured several more with an AR-15 assault weapon. Wednesday's walkout marks one month since the tragedy.
Pete Murphy, Gateway's high school principal, said he and district officials support the walkout – which is scheduled to start outside at the school's football stadium at 10 a.m.
“There won't be teachers or administrators out there (to demonstrate) – it's a student-run thing,” Murphy said. “Hopefully they go out peacefully and return.”
He said the school has taken “high precautions” on safety for the event but did not provide further details. The district has its own police force of 13 officers.
Murphy said there are no speakers or outside guests scheduled for the walkout.
He added students will not be punished for taking part in the walkout.
“But if they don't return to class, yes, there will be consequences,” he said.
Dubbed the ENOUGH National School Walkout, plans originated with the group EMPOWER, a coalition of organizations led by the youth division of the January 2017 Women's March organizers. The group's website says, “we are living in an age where young people like us do not feel safe in our schools.”
In addition to honoring victims and survivors of gun violence, the group also encourages students to support policy initiatives directed at reducing gun violence, register to vote and share their efforts with local lawmakers.
Other area schools participating in the walkout include Penn Hills High School , Woodland Hills High, Valley High and Franklin Regional High.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dillonswriting.