BY ASHAD HAJELA
Hundreds of students on the Upper West Side this morning pooled together their voices to advocate for gun control in response to the shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, four weeks ago.
Among the largest gatherings was that of students from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, who packed onto Columbus Avenue, near 62nd Street and sat down, filling up half the avenue. The walkout had been scheduled for 10 a.m. but students were in place as early as 9:30.
At 10, following a countdown, the students sat down for a prolonged period of silence to commemorate the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.
The crowd attracted many bystanders who eventually joined chants of “This is what democracy looks like!” and “We are the future!”
A few neighborhood middle schools also took part in the protest. “Our school is doing what all other schools should be doing,” said Louis Nahon, a seventh grader at Booker T. Washington Middle School before the walkout.
Also as a result of Parkland, students from both middle schools and high schools are executing more frequent lockdown drills as the security around schools is tightened with increased numbers of guards and metal detectors. Louis, though, said he feels safe.
Although the Upper West Side is very secure with most schools following protocol to prepare for a potential shooting, some students do not like the fact that it is necessary. “I shouldn’t have to go to school and see a bunch of security guards everyday,” said Jose Sanchez, a senior at La Guardia High School.