Hundreds of high school students in Baltimore passed through Homewood Campus protesting school gun violence around noon on Tuesday. The march was part of a walkout to City Hall.
The students chanted “guns down, grades up” and carried signs reading slogans such as “When Will it End?” and “books not bullets.” Police cars and motorcycles drove alongside the demonstrators, and a helicopter flew overhead.
The students followed a code of conduct, which required them to protest peacefully, walk on sidewalks and to cooperate with police officers.
The march began at Friends School of Baltimore (Friends) and ended with a 17 minute lie-in at City Hall. Participants came from a variety of high schools, including the Friends School of Baltimore, Baltimore City College and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.
The walkout is one of the latest taking place from coast to coast since a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people on Feb. 14. It was one of the deadliest school shootings of all time.
After passing through Homewood, the protestors passed The Baltimore Lab School and the Baltimore Sun headquarters before stopping at City Hall.
At the lie-in, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa voiced their support for the students. Pugh said that the City plans to spend $100,000 to transport student demonstrators to a national march for gun control in Washington, D.C. scheduled for March 24.
Friends senior Daniel Gittelsohn condemned the current lack of gun control legislation.
“No one needs an assault rifle in their home for any reason,” he said. “Enough is enough with all of these school shootings and other shootings as well.”
Friends senior Nisha Rao agreed that the second amendment is outdated.
“In no world should kids my age or even younger have to deal with having guns in their homes, in their schools, in their lives,” Rao said.
Friends student Amee Rothman organized a Facebook group to spread word of the protest. On Twitter, the hashtag #GunsDownGradesUp trended locally.
Rao explained the chosen route for the demonstration.
“This route helped because it goes through a lot of school campuses, so there are a lot of places for people to join us if they couldn’t get a ride to start at Friends,” she said. “It’s a pretty direct route to City Hall.”
According to the Baltimore Sun, Rothman stated that demonstrators from Friends will receive detention on Saturday. They will also be in contact with Friends faculty about how to alleviate gun violence in Baltimore.
Baltimore students are demanding that Maryland lawmakers support the “red flag law.” The bill would allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate firearms from gun owners who pose a serious threat to themselves or others. Additionally, students are demanding a ban on detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Students also demanded that gun control safety drills and assailant event training be enacted in high schools. They also demanded that schools establish social work and counseling services to prevent a culture of violence and called for follow-up investigations to be conducted for allegations of police misconduct in schools.