Milford students join national walkout

Foran High School students join the walkout.

Foran High School students join the walkout.

Students in Milford joined forces with the National School Walkout March 14, one month after 17 people at were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

More than 3,000 school walkouts took place Wednesday across the United States at 10 a.m. Students walked out of class for 17 minutes (one for each victim in the Feb. 14 attack), demanding action against gun violence. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High was the deadliest school shooting since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which took the lives of 20 students and six educators in 2012. Students across America, who sadly understand they are targeted victims of these mass school shootings, bravely organized and participated in solidarity chanting, “enough is enough” during the Walkout, taking matters into their own hands.

Principals at each of the three Milford public high schools sent a joint letter to students and parents stating, “Many students and youth across the nation are collectively calling for action to demand safe schools. There are a variety of demonstrations and walkouts that are being planned by organizations and by individual groups of youth. The faculty at our three schools continues to work with and coach students as they brainstorm various ways to make their voices heard in a highly impactful yet minimally disruptive manner.”

“This is a youth-organized, student led movement. The administration and faculty will supervise our students and continue to be vigilant about school safety,” continued the letter. “To that end, on March 14, each of our campuses will be closed from 9:30-11 a.m., and there will be a heightened police presence. Those students who choose to participate in the student walkout in a peaceful, respectful manner within that time period will not be disciplined for doing so.”

Students who chose not to participate were supervised in the schools. “We support the voices of our students as they work to build a safer school and society.” The letter was signed by principals Thompson, Berkowitz and Director Scionti.

In Milford, “We had peaceful walkouts at all three of our public high schools, Foran High, Jonathan Law and The Academy,” explained Kathryn Bonetti, Communications Coordinator Milford Public Schools. “About 75-80 percent of the student body participated at each school. I was personally at Jonathan Law, the students stayed outside for 17 minutes and they rang a bell for each of the victims. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The middle schools (West Shore, Harborside, and East Shore) also participated - they unilaterally decided to create a day of giving and a day of kindness (they did not walkout). Many students brought in $1 which will go to a charity. From top administration down, the walkout has had total support in helping the students make it happen.”

Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) also “walked out” of the U.S. Capitol Building where they addressed thousands of students rallying to take action on common sense gun safety reforms. “There is no great social change movement in this country that has not been led by the youth of America,” said Murphy. “There are going to be defeats before you reach final victory. But also defining of the great social movements in this country is that the ones that saw adversity and pushed through it are the ones that we read about in our history books. I know in the end that we will beat the NRA, that we will kick out members of Congress who don’t listen to you, and we will deliver change in the end.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy spoke to protesting students in Hartford. “I want each of you to remember this day for what you have done, to stand up to authority and say as you have said several times today, ‘enough is enough,” Malloy said.