School walkouts in support of stricter gun laws continued Thursday morning after schools were closed due to weather on Wednesday.
Dozens of students left Cape Elizabeth High School in the morning and gathered at a small stage set up in a nearby parking lot. The students began the demonstration with a performance of the song “Rise Up” by Andra Day. The students then read the names of those killed in the recent Parkland Florida shooting on Feb. 14.
“Alyssa Alhadeff was 14 years old,” student Lilli Frame said to the crowd. Alhadeff was one of the victims at Parkland. “She was a soccer player, a creative writer and someone her friends and family describe as passionate kind and caring. She Was 14 years old. She didn’t have to die that day in Parkland, and neither does anyone else. For her we say never again."
"I just called my mom and I was like ‘There was another one!’ and she knew exactly what I was talking about,” says student organizer Christie Gillies. “She knew it was another school shooting.” Gillies says the Parkland shooting helped her realize how commonplace school shootings had become.
“I saw a headline the other day,” she says. “It read: ‘A Unique American Ritual, The School Shooting.’ Is this what we’re going to let these shootings become, a tradition? A practice so perfected by years of experience that we have protocols about how to act, what to say, where students should put their hands as they run out of school as a gunman is pursuing their friends? Is this normal?”
Anthony Inhorn, an 18 year old senior, was inspired by Parkland students who spoke out after the shooting at their school.
“It sort of made me realize you don’t have to accept the status quo, the normal, because these kids were standing up and saying ‘no we’re not going to take this. We’re actually going to do something about it.’ That was hugely inspiring for me.”
Inhorn says he doesn’t want to take away anyone’s guns, but he wants legislators to pass “reasonable, common sense gun laws” to make sure schools are safe. Inhorn is critical of the NRA in the wake of the Parkland shooting and says they have a “pretty toxic” relationship with congress.
Many students at the event say they hope Maine lawmakers commit passing stricter, common sense, gun laws like banning bump stocks and assault rifles.