Lakeside Students Protest For Gun Reform in Second Walkout

Lines of assorted school t-shirts hang stretched from one end of the Lakeside Fine Arts Building (FAB) ceiling to the other end, visible from outside through the large glass windows. Each of the 200 shirts represent one U.S. school shooting victim since the Columbine massacre 19 years ago. On April 20th, the scene was visible from where hundreds of Lakeside students gathered outside of the FAB as participants in the second National School Walkout.

Unlike the first, this walkout focused on gun reform. “It’s a protest against how when there’s a fire drill people’s brains automatically go to is this a school shooter that is trying to get us all in the same place,” said sophomore Natalie Stembel, referencing how the Columbine shooters pulled the fire alarm to get students and teachers out of classrooms. “It is protesting against not knowing whether or not you will make it home that night.” Once again, Lakeside students handled the organization and operations of the demonstration. Stembel and senior Sawyer Wolf oversaw all of the moving parts and the scheduling of the walkout. Freshman Leah Weiss coordinated with the press who covered the walkout. Juniors Reagan Conn and Hope Davis coordinated the Voter Registration and Civic Engagement booth.

Unlike the 17 minute long tribute on March 14th, the second walkout lasted for 5 hours. The first half of the walkout comprised of student, politician, and activist speeches. Sophomore Najah Alkaweel spoke about how people of color are disproportionately affected by gun violence. Senior Stahr Stembel presented a spoken word poem written by senior Victoria Smith, who expressed how students feel unsafe in schools. Weiss read a letter she wrote to her parents the day after the Parkland school shooting happened. Davis read a poem entitled “Thoughts and Prayers” chronicling what she would want people to do if she becomes victim of a school shooting.

Speeches took less time than expected so there was a bit of confusion when transitioning from the front of the school to the football fields where stations were set up for students to have meaningful conversations concerning bipartisan solutions to gun reform, mental health, and school safety. “Gun violence is not good,” said freshman Nicky Turk during a discussion about gun reform in America. “Guns are able to kill people. Duh. That’s why I’m here today.

-------------------------------------------------------

Controversial Conversation: Sophomore Angelo Ragan leads a discussion about gun reform and gun violence during the second half of the walkout. Amores led multiple discussions throughout the course of the walkout asking fellow students how police brutality affects them and how they can feel safer.

Photo by: Leila Baniassad

-------------------------------------------------------

Julienne de Vastey contributed reporting to this article.

The mission of the Legend is to report news responsibly, encourage innovation and creativity in newspapers, enhance close interaction of students, faculty, staff, and administration, and publish truthful articles to spark positive discussion and personal thought.

Contact us at thelakesidelegend@gmail.com 

3801 Briarcliff Road Atlanta, GA 30345