What is National Stop School Shootings NOW?
National Stop School Shootings NOW is a grass-roots group of kids, women, and men working to change gun laws so that kids and teachers are safe from gun violence at school. We are working with other groups that have similar missions to organize school walkouts and rallies from coast to coast on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 10 a.m. in each timezone.
What are you organizing?
We are organizing the first national school walkout for students, teachers, and administrators in preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities from coast to coast to honor the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and to demand that our policy makers address gun violence NOW. Students at schools across the country plan school walkouts Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 10 a.m. in each time zone. During the walkouts, students and faculty will walk out of classrooms and school buildings and join together in solidarity for 17 minutes—one minute for every person killed on February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida—to honor the lives that were lost to gun violence in schools.
In addition, we are asking that EVERY AMERICAN who wants to stand in solidarity with our kids against school shootings, walk out from your home, workplace or place of worship. Join us in the streets to observe 17 minutes to honor those who have died from gun violence. Show our numbers to the world and advocate for CHANGE in our gun laws.
We are organizing rallies at 12pm local time at city, county, state and federal government buildings from coast to coast for everyone—students, faculty, parents, grandparents, adults without children, members of the clergy, gun owners—to demand that our elected leaders enact immediate and comprehensive policy changes to end gun violence in schools.
Who can participate?
Participation in school walkouts should be limited to students, teachers, administrators and staff of each school. Schools have a responsibility to limit access during school hours to their grounds and buildings to students, teachers and other staff. Parents are typically allowed on school property during the school day if they are there to participate in a school-sponsored function or to pick-up their child(ren). Parents should check with the school walkout organizers at their child’s school for information about participating with their child(ren).
School walkouts and other events are being planned at preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. Events for young children should be age-appropriate. For suggestion about how to talk to young children about gun violence, click here.
If you don’t have a kid in school, but want to make sure your voice is heard, participate in our NATIONAL WALKOUT at 10a local time.. Every American who stands with students who want to stop school shootings NOW should walk out of your home, workplace, place of worship… wherever you are.. And join us for 17 minutes. That’s a long time. Plenty of time to think about those who have died unnecessarily from gun violence.
At 12pm local time, we ask students and adults to join us at rallies at state capitols or local government buildings. Rallies are open to everyone who wants to make schools safe from gun violence. Come out to amplify the clear and urgent voices of our kids.
Why are we doing this?
We cannot tolerate the status quo.
Kids do not feel safe in our schools. Parents don’t feel safe sending their kids to our schools. Our elected officials are not paying attention to the majority* of Americans who want to see gun laws reformed.
Our kids have taken the lead after another horrific school shooting. They are making speeches, planning school walkouts, organizing rallies, holding lie-ins and leading marches. Our kids are demanding that politicians do something NOW to reform gun laws, and we are here to help.
(*According to recent national Gallup polls on gun issues.)
Why March 14?
March 14 is the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 students and teachers.
What will happen during the walkouts?
The walkouts are kid-led demonstrations. Kids should decide how they want to remember those who were killed and let elected leaders know they demand changes that will keep them safe at school. If you are an adult helping kids plan a walkout, ask them what they want to do. Some of the ideas we’ve heard about are:
- Observe 17 minutes of silence.
- Speak the names of people killed by gun violence — from the 17 students killed in Parkland to members of their own family or community.
- Form a circle in an auditorium or around a school building.
- Place backpack, shoes or empty chairs on the ground to symbolize the kids who have died from gun violence in schools.
- Sing songs, read poems or make art.
- Display signs that demand laws that will reduce gun violence or funding for research into gun violence as a public health crisis.
- Register to vote if they will be 18 or older before the next election. Scroll down for how info on how to register.
- Share images, videos and why they are participating in the walk-out on social media with #ENOUGH.
Who is involved in the National Stop School Shootings NOW group?
Kids, women and men from communities across the United States who want school shootings to stop are involved in National Stop School Shootings NOW. It started with a mom and her middle-schooler in Georgia immediately after the news of the shooting in Parkland, FL broke. They invited friends, colleagues and neighbors to take action to make sure there will never be another shooting in a school. What started with 20 people in a living room and on the phone grew quickly and it was clear that the kids were leading the way. Within hours, they joined forces with other groups to help support and promote a national school walkout and rallies at government buildings from coast to coast on March 14th. Everyone involved is a volunteer.
What do we want?
We want to stop the carnage.
We want our elected officials to stand up to special interest groups that care more about money and power than the lives of innocent children and adults.
We want to work with gun owners and non-gun owners to find solutions.
We demand that Congress pass the following common-sense legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets, and in our homes and places of worship:
- Reinstate and strengthen the Federal Ban on Assault Weapons
- Ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks
- Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
- Ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
- Require universal background checks for all gun sales that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
- Close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks
- Pass federal gun violence restraining order law
- Fund and publish government research on gun violence
- Promote safe and secure storage
- Require licensing and insurance for all gun owners
Examples of common-sense legislation that have already bee proposed include:
- Banning Assault Weapons & High Capacity Magazines (S. 2095)
- Expanding Background Checks to All Gun Sales (S 2009)
- Passing Gun Violence Restraining Order Law ( H.R. 2598 / S 1212)
To read more about our goals, click here.
Why are there so many walkouts and marches on different days?
We have seen too many massacres in schools and so little action from our elected officials. Thoughts and prayers don’t offer protection against semi-automatic gunfire. The outrage we feel is a call to action. Kids and adults around the country decided to get involved. Some formed groups, other joined existing groups. We think it’s great that there are so many protests and demonstrations planned. It will take sustained action to get the attention and motivate decision-makers to finally do the right thing. Participate in as much as you can and recruit others to join you!
Here’s a list of all the demonstrations we know about:
- March 14: Women’s March EMPOWER, in conjunction with National Stop School Shootings NOW (#NationalSSSNOW), encourages students, teachers, administrators and parents everywhere in the U.S. to walk out of class or school at 10 a.m. (in your time zone) for 17 minutes.
- March 24: #MarchForOurLives is a national day of marches organized by the Parkland survivors and others to be held in Washington, DC and other locations across the U.S. For more info, go to www.marchforourlives.com. You can show support by following the event on social media or calling your elected officials.
- April 20: #NationalSchoolWalkout is encouraging students everywhere to walk out at 10 a.m. This is a walkout-and-stay-out event intended for students to peacefully protest on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. More information is available on Twitter @schoolwalkoutUS & www.change.org.
How can I plan a school walkout or rally?
The kids at Women’s March EMPOWER have developed an awesome toolkit to help students plan school walkouts. Click here to check it out.
I am not a student, a parent, or in school on March 14th. How can I get involved?
The National School Walkout at 10 am in each timezone on March 14th is for students, faculty, administrators and parents who are allowed to be on school grounds during a school day. This is an important safety precaution. Check out the Walkout page for more information on walkouts for kids and adults.
The rallies at at government buildings noon on March 14th are for everyone! Go to the Rally page for more information. Take photos and post messages about your reasons for attending a rally on your social media accounts with #NationalStopSchoolShootingsNOW and #ENOUGH.
For more information on how to get involved, go to the Get Involved page.
Will I get in trouble if I walk out of class or school?
Americans, including students, have the right to free speech. This applies inside and outside the classroom and includes the right to participate in peaceful demonstrations.
However, teachers and administrators are concerned about disruption to learning time and, as a result, may decide to pursue disciplinary action if students leave classrooms or school buildings to participate in the walkout. Use your best judgement to decide what to do.
Ask your teachers or administrators now for their support. You can also ask a parent or guardian to call the school and advocate on your behalf if your school administration needs to be encouraged to work with you. For ideas on how to talk to your school administrators, click here. If your parent/guardian supports your commitment to participating in the walkout, she or he can, depending on the policies of your school, send an email or note to the school or come to the school on March 14th and sign you out at 10 a.m.
If you can’t participate in a school walkout, you can still use your voice to demand change and honor school shooting victims. Make signs or art to let others know how you feel. Write letters or call your elected representatives. If you’re old enough, make sure you are registered to vote (scroll down for information on how to register). Use your social media accounts to share your thoughts and images with #NationalSSSNOW and #ENOUGH.
How do I register to vote so I can vote?
Make sure you are registered to vote!
If you will be age 18 by your Primary Election Day or the General Election Day on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, then you are eligible to vote in one or both of these elections in 2018.
Some school walkouts and rallies will have voter registration information or forms available on March 14th. Another way to register is to text P2P to RTVOTE (788683). This will get your started, just follow the text prompts that will lead you to fill out the online voter registration form. If your state does not accept online voter registrations, you will be prompted to print out your form so you can sign it and send it by snail mail. Some states will let you pre-register to vote at the age of 16 or 17, check out which ones here. Also, make sure you’re registered before the deadline to be eligible to vote in each election. Finally, know your rights!
The leaders we elect must have the courage to fight to make our schools and communities safer. They must stand up to the gun lobby or we will elect leaders who can. Your vote really does matter. An informed voter is a powerful voter!
What should I say/write if someone disagrees with what I want or what I’m doing?
Not everyone will agree with our strategy or objectives, and that’s fine. We realize it’s not the only strategy. We are committed to taking action with the goal of making positive change. We encourage you to have respectful conversations about the importance of stronger gun violence prevention laws and how to get these laws passed, but if it turns into a name-calling rant, you can simply stop being part of the conversation. You do not have to participate in arguments or tolerate being insulted, and no one can force you. Keep in mind that there are lots of places in real life and in social media where people can go to debate issues. The purpose of our group and the social media platforms we manage are to:
- Support kids as they advocate for safe schools.
- Share information and updates about the walkouts and demonstrations.
- Advocate for stronger laws around background checks, sale, ownership, and storage of firearms and accessories.
Our objectives aren’t open for debate. Commenters who disagree with these objectives or want to advocate for other strategies are welcome to do so elsewhere.
If you feel that someone is threatening you with violence, Sandy Hook Promise has created a helpful guide for interpreting and responding to possible threats of violence. Find out more here.
How can I stay involved after March 14th?
- Participate in the March 24 #MarchforOurLives in Washington, D.C. (www.marchforourlives.com), and the April 20 #NationalSchoolWalkout (@schoolwalkoutUS and www.change.org).
- Write or call your local, state and federal elected officials.
- Register and vote in midterm and general elections.
- Run for office, any office.
- Learn all you can about pending and proposed gun laws.
- Listen to and talk respectfully with people of different perspectives to see if you can learn from each other and find some common ground.
- Make sure your voice is heard.
It will take sustained action to accomplish gun law reform!