SBHS Students Walkout in Protest of Gun Violence


Michelle Baeza

SBHS students chant and hold up signs during a walkout protesting gun violence. The national walkout, initiated by Students Demand Action, was staged on April 5.

Ayla Kayan and Ariela Brody

Shortly after the 3rd-period bell echoed through the halls, students followed their friends toward the football field. They huddled in the middle of the field, holding signs saying “Enough is enough”  and chanting “No more shootings,” while news helicopters circled the school. 15 minutes later, they were told to return to class or risk the danger of a referral. 

These students were participating in a national protest against gun violence in schools. In the midst of the deadliest school year on record, with about 202 shootings just in 2023 according to ABC News, SBHS students wanted to express their frustration about the lack of action against gun violence.

“I feel like it’s important to speak up as students,” said SBHS senior Michelle Baeza. “If we can speak out in that manner of walking out without getting in trouble then why not do it and represent.”

The walkout was organized by Students Demand Action, a student-run initiative against gun violence founded in the aftermath of the Majorie Stoneman Douglas shooting in which 17 students and staff were killed. The organization strives to spread awareness, take action and make voices heard to reduce gun violence in the U.S. 

“Gun control is a very serious issue in the United States and we need to tackle the issues that are present,” said SBHS freshman Gabriel Lydia. “I think people protesting is a good thing, especially for students, making their voices heard.”

Compared to the 2,500 students on the SBHS campus, approximately 100 attendants meant the walkout was small. This may be due to the fact that information about the walkout was scarce and many did not know about it until just minutes before it began. 

“Some people were talking about it in my third period and were planning on walking out,” said SBHS senior Eion Ruth, who attended the walkout.

One of Students Demand Action’s main priorities with the walkout is to collaborate and cooperate with school administration. Ruth and Baeza both believe that this would help students voice their opinions and bring awareness to the matter in a more organized manner. 

 “I feel like if they [administration] had done maybe a presentation beforehand to inform the students on what the walkout was and then actually make them passionate rather than having students that just went to skip class,” said Baeza.

According to Education Week school shooting tracker, there have been 21 school shootings with injury or deaths this year, and 32 people have been killed or injured. 

“I’m sick of gun violence across America,” said Ruth. “It’s ridiculous to think we’re only 139 or something days into the year and we’ve had over 200 mass shootings.”

Recently, school districts have implemented safety measures to combat violence in schools. Broward County Public Schools has introduced random security searches and has mandated clear backpacks for the 2023-2024 school year. Some students don’t believe that this is the best solution. 

“In fact, I think they will cause more harm if anything. Clear backpacks take away the freedom and joy of choosing backpacks that match who you are or have the capabilities you need,” said Baeza. “Apart from the inconveniences and uncomfortableness, clear backpacks will never prevent school shootings. There are guns and weapons small enough to conceal under clothes.”