Students to March

Some 300 East Hampton High School students were among thousands across the country taking part in a student walkout in March to pressure lawmakers for increased gun-control measures. Durell Godfrey

Tomorrow, on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, thousands of students across the country are once again expected to rally against violence in an event called the National School Walkout, the third student-led protest since the Feb. 14 deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

The walkout is intended to commemorate the events on April 20, 1999, when two armed teenagers entered the Columbine school and in a shooting spree killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 20 others. The shooters then killed themselves.

The teenage organizers of tomorrow’s National School Walkout hope to continue the current groundswell of students demanding common-sense gun reform. According to the organizers’ website, the walkout begins at 10 a.m. in each time zone, when students will head outside, observe 13 seconds of silence to honor the 13 people killed at Columbine High School, and then leave school property. 

“This is a problem that needs to be addressed longer than 17 minutes,” Lane Murdock, a sophomore at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, one of tomorrow’s organizers, recently told ABC News. She was referring to the first school walkout, on March 14, when students observed 17 minutes of silence in memory of the 17 victims of Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

“Leaving and breaking up that schedule that all American students have every day is how you get people to pay attention,” Lane said.

In what some said was a surprise, however, Columbine High School administrators have pushed back against tomorrow’s walkout, reminding students in Colorado and across the country that the Columbine community has turned April 20 into a day of service, not protest.

At East Hampton High School, Adam Fine, the principal, said yesterday that students had not mentioned a protest and were expected in classes all day. At the Ross School in East Hampton, a survey generated by a student was emailed to students asking them to weigh in on participation, and requesting that those participating wear orange to show support for this particular walkout. 

In Montauk, a community event organized by the Montauk Community Church and St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church is planned for after-school hours, with Montauk residents encouraged to meet at 4:30 p.m. and walk to the hamlet’s gazebo. “Let’s come together for this important conversation,” a poster says.

More than 2,000 schools are registered to participate, with at least one in every state and several globally, according to the National School Walkout organizers.