Politics

D.C. Area Students Skip School to Push Gun Legislation

Hundreds marched from the Capitol to the White House to demand action

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the East Lawn of the Capitol (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

D.C. area students marched from the Capitol to the White House on Wednesday to tell lawmakers, especially President Donald Trump, they have a voice that needs to be heard.

Hundreds of students arrived at 11 a.m. off the Capitol steps, backpacks on shoulders and signs in hands, to stand in solidarity with their fellow students who were shot at on Valentines’ Day in Parkland, Florida. Students in Florida and throughout the country marched out of their classrooms and took to the streets to demand action on gun legislation.

“We want our schools to be safe,” Bethesda Chevy Chase High School junior Natalie said.

Her sister, BCC freshman Claire added, “We want to feel safe at school.”

 

“And we want to support our fellow students in Florida,” BCC junior Sky said.

Watch: Students March for Gun Control

About 200 students from BCC, located in the close Maryland suburbs, stormed the Metro to go to Capitol Hill to meet fellow students for the protest. At around 11:45 a.m. the protesters began a march to the White House.

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 21: Students calling for Congress to act on gun control, demonstrate on the east lawn of the Capitol on February 21, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Hundreds of students demonstrated on the east lawn  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The students said their school is aware of where they are, but advised them against attending the protest. While some teachers yelled at the students, others let them go quietly.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., whose district includes BCC, met the students at the Capitol. The students chanted his name.

“Welcome to Capitol Hill,” the congressman said. “Inside are the powers that be, outside are the powers that ought to be and you are the powers that are soon to be in the United States of America.”

D.C. area kids have always had government in their backyard. BCC freshman, Simon, said he’s interested in politics because of his desire to learn different sides of an argument.

“I’ve just kind of always been interested in people’s views. I just kind of really enjoy how people think differently and I like hearing other people’s views on things, not just my own, and I think it’s really interesting to explore those views and just kind of introduce yourself to something new,” he said. “Generally, not all the time, you’re going to agree with some of those views, but they’re still interesting to look into and understand why some people think that.”

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 21: Sofia Hidalgo, 15, of Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Md., and other students calling for Congress to act on gun control, demonstrate on the east lawn of the Capitol on February 21, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sofia, 15, of Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Md., and other students called for Congress to act on gun control. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Other said that it took President Donald Trump’s election to get motivated.

“Before Trump, no. Because it never irritated me and I had no cares about it whatsoever and then he became president and I was like, ‘oh noodles. Wow. Click.’ Suddenly, I’m going to be politically active because I really care about this and I realize that my rights are at stake, so, hmm, yeah, I should probably do something,” Claire said.

She wore a shirt to the protest that read, “nevertheless, she persisted.”

“Really, how this has all just taken off and divided the country so much,” Natalie said on what got her motivated.

Sky added, “I wasn’t really politically active until the president was elected and Natalie here got me into politics. I feel like with this administration, peoples’ rights and even their lives are at stake, so I just want to help out the people who really need it and do whatever I can to make their lives better.”

Watch: Trump’s Clout on Gun Control is Limited, and House GOP Won’t Help

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