About 225 teens skipped a school-organized memorial in their Pennsylvania high school’s gym Wednesday to take part in the National School Walkout against gun violence. As threatened, administrators ordered the walkouts to serve detention.
But when the first 46 teens turned up Saturday at Pennridge High School in Perkasie, Penn., north of Philadelphia, to serve their detention, a quiet memorial and protest against gun violence broke out instead, reported The Morning Call.
Students pinned the names of gun violence victims to their clothes, then left their assigned seats to silently sit in a circle with linked arms around a collection of flowers, a video posted on social media shows.
The National School Walkout encouraged high school and college students to leave class for 17 minutes March 14 to honor the lives lost in a Parkland, Fla., school shooting Feb. 14 and to demand stronger gun laws. Tens of thousands of students across the U.S. participated in the event, some with permission from their schools and some without.
Pennridge High School organized an assembly March 14 in which students sat in silence for 17 minutes while a memorial slide show played, according to The Independent. While about 800 teens took part in that event, another 225 opted to leave class for a protest against gun violence outside the school.
“Honoring the victims without trying to effect change is not good enough,” Jayson Badal, a senior at Pennridge High School, told The Morning Call. “It doesn’t do them justice.”
Jacqueline Rattigan, Pennridge School District superintendent, told the publication that students would receive a Saturday detention for a first offense and two detentions for a second offense for taking part in the walkout. Five students who left campus to go to Dunkin’ Donuts during the walkout will receive further punishment, she said, adding that students had been warned in advance of the consequences for leaving class.
Anna Sophie Tinneny, a senior at the high school, organized the detention protest Saturday.
“It was disappointing that our school teaches us to be like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., people who stood up for what they believed in. And they weren’t going to let us do the same,” she told The Morning Call. Dozens of community members held protest signs outside the school Saturday while the students, who have labeled themselves the #Pennridge225, served their detention.
Tinneny’s Twitter video on the detention protest has been viewed 27,000 times and has nearly 900 likes as of Monday morning. It has been retweetd and liked by numerous parents, activists and celebrities.
Not everyone was as supportive, however.
The shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Fla., has prompted national protests, many organized by survivors of the shooting. A national March for Our Lives has been planned for Saturday with the main march in Washington, D.C., and satellite marches across the country.