The students of Pennridge High School turned an attempt to silence their protest against gun violence on its head.
The survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school gun massacre have inspired young people across the country, including a group of students who were given detention for participating in the National Walkout last week.
But one group of students used their punishment to launch another protest. Pennridge High School issued 225 detentions to students who walked out of school last Wednesday, rather than attend a school-organized assembly.
On Saturday, the first group of 46 students to serve Saturday detention spent the hour in silence, arms locked, each holding the name of one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students who were killed during the gun massacre.
The protest of the students calling themselves the Pennridge 225 has generated copious news coverage, and an outpouring of support, and will likely continue to do so as the remainder of the students serve their detentions.
Kids across the country, led by the Parkland survivors, have made a huge difference in the way this gun massacre has been treated. The silent protest of the Pennridge students is a savvy and powerful response to an attempt to silence them.
So was the decision of three Arkansas students to face corporal punishment — rather than suspension — for their participation in the walkouts, guaranteeing more attention to the cause of fighting gun violence.
While public pressure has faded following previous gun massacres, this generation has used their passion and media fluency to keep the issue of gun control top of mind, and with another national protest planned for March 24, they’re not going away anytime soon.