The group initially planned to stage school walkouts earlier, on March 2, but moved the date to align with events planned by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, which announced a national school walkout to take place at 10 a.m. March 14 in every time zone. They are urging students, teachers, administrators and parents to walk out of school for 17 minutes that day.
The locally led effort is among the many responses to the Florida shooting, in which alleged killer Nikolas Cruz, 19, legally purchased the AR-15 he used.
In about 24 hours, Schexnyder’s social media effort had attracted more than 7,800 followers. She held a meeting Friday afternoon at her home to discuss the group’s next steps.
“It seems to me that things get done when people are unified in purpose,” said her friend, Shirley Banks, of Stone Mountain, who is helping with the planning.
Gun violence protests have taken place in several communities in the wake of the Florida shooting.
On Friday, students in the same Florida school district took absences to gather outside their high school and protest gun violence. Another rally is planned today in Fort Lauderdale, where members of the teachers union, school board, parents, and other groups will hold a rally to support gun control and firearm safety legislation.
Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, said educators in her school district are taking on advocacy roles after the deadly incident that happened not far from the union hall.
“I guarantee that this is the beginning of something that is not going to end until there is gun reform,” she said.
-- This article has been updated after organizers changed the original date of the walkout planned by Schexnyder.