Students march past Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, call for reform in local rally

By Rachel Frazin, Medill News Service
Attendees gather at the March for Our Lives rally in Parkland, Fla., on Saturday. Photo by Rachel Frazin/Medill News Service
1 of 2 | Attendees gather at the March for Our Lives rally in Parkland, Fla., on Saturday. Photo by Rachel Frazin/Medill News Service

March 24 (UPI) -- PARKLAND, FLA. -- Weeks after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the school's students and Parkland, Fla., residents called for an end to gun violence at their local March for Our Lives event.

One of more than 800 rallies held throughout the world this weekend, students, parents, teachers and alumni spoke Saturday at the South Florida rally, which was followed by a two-mile march past the school. Although protesters chanted for most of the march, they fell silent as they approached the school to honor the 17 victims.


The rally's speakers advocated for stricter gun control laws and other school safety measures, including bullet-proof windows and doors. Student organizer Daniel Tabares, a freshman, said he expected at least 3,000 people to attend.

"We are not saying that guns are the only reason that mass shootings continue to occur," event organizer Casey Sherman said. "We are saying that they factor in and we are asking -- no -- demanding that someone repeat the experiment that so many other countries have carried out and simply see if it yields the same results."


The Marjory Stoneman Douglas junior also mentioned victims of other mass shootings and those who experience gun violence every day, telling the crowd that "enough is enough."

The rally also focused on making changes through voting and featured tables where participants could register or pre-register to vote.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas sophomore Sari Kauffman urged listeners to vote out public officials "who do not align with keeping America safe."

Other speakers included parents whose children were killed and the school's debate coach.

Students, teachers and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas and nearby schools, as well as residents of Parkland and other nearby towns gathered together to march.

During the rally, Marjory Stoneman Douglas students sat in bleachers behind the podium by two burgundy Marjory Stoneman Douglas posters that featured the school's mascot and a blue banner that promoted March for Our Lives and Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization that promotes certain gun-control regulations and helped students organize the event.

"Something needs to change and I believe when everyone comes together, we can make change," said attendee Piper Peterson, a sophomore at nearby Western High School.

"It's been very uncomfortable knowing that we're sending them to a place that's supposed to be free from interference and the school is not secure," march attendee Kevin Unger said. Unger's children are students at Douglas.


March organizer and Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumna Sam Novick compared the March for Our Lives with historical and recent protests in support of equality for black people, LGBT people and women.

"In 2018, students across the country and around the world students are marching for their lives," she said.

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