Before Abby Margolis was even born, 13 victims were killed in a school shooting at Columbine High School.
The high school senior said she’s still waiting for gun reform to prevent such tragedies.
“I believe that change needs to happen,” said Margolis, 17. “Our protest is conjoined with many across the country to send a message to the government that we are done waiting for change, we are now demanding it.”
At 10 a.m., Friday, April 20, she and other Friday Harbor High School and Middle School students walked out of class to honor the victims of Columbine and raise awareness of gun violence.
The national walkout marked the 19th anniversary of the high school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. Students laid 13 pairs of shoes on a curb to represent the 13 victims killed in Columbine.
Margolis, who helped coordinate the protest with several students, said they marched to the courthouse, carrying signs and chanting, and community members joined as well.
Gordy Waite, FHHS counselor, estimated about 200 students left school for about an hour to join the protest and “a lot” returned. Students, who received an excused absence from their parents, were not marked as tardy for attending the event, he said.
He noted that the event was not school-sponsored. A letter sent to students’ parents, however, stated that “the action … is a good lesson in democracy.”
Margolis said that she personally feels that stricter gun laws are needed to prevent further school shootings.
“Our purpose [was] to honor the Columbine victims and demand change,” said Margolis, who also noted that “there were a few counter-protesters” at the event.
On Wednesday, March 14, Friday Harbor students silently walked the FHHS track in a national demonstration honoring victims from the February high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Students also led the protest for tighter gun control on Saturday, March 24 in Friday Harbor’s March for Our Lives, which also included demonstrators who were not students.