Wheaton North Students Protest Gun Violence in Schools
By: Melody Elbel
On Wednesday, April 5th, students at Wheaton North High School in Illinois staged a walkout to protest gun violence in schools. The walkout was organized by students Ethan Spaid, Juno Pizziferro, and Clara Delzell, who all gave speeches during the event. Participants also received an orange ribbon to attach to their backpacks.
` Spaid explained that the ribbons were intended to raise awareness of gun violence. "When someone who might not have known about the walkout sees someone in the hall wearing one on their backpack, they might ask about it, and more and more people would be aware of the situation," he said.
Pizziferro spoke about the significance of the color orange. "It has been [orange] since 2015 after a teenager was shot on a playground in Chicago," they explained. "The whole idea behind it is that hunters wear it to protect themselves while in the woods, so it extends to wanting to protect ourselves and others from gun violence."
The walkout had a significant turnout, surprising its organizers. Other schools across the country were also participating in similar events at the same time, organized by Students Demand Action, a non-profit organization fighting against gun violence.
The issue of school shootings is becoming increasingly prevalent, and the students advocated for preventative measures. Delzell emphasized the need for more mental health services, while Spaid called for laws banning assault weapons. "There is no reason why someone should be able to purchase an AR-15 when they turn 18," he said.
Pizziferro highlighted the frequency of school shootings, stating that "school shootings happen almost every day, whether we see it become viral or not." In response to this, Delzell wants people to know that "we need to take action. Walkouts are great, but we need to use the energy of walkouts to propel the movement forward. So ideally, we hope everyone would consider joining Students Against Gun Violence."
The Wheaton North walkout is just one of many events taking place across the country as students demand action against gun violence. The message is clear: enough is enough, and something must be done to protect our schools and our communities.