April 20, 2018 marked the 19th anniversary of the tragic 1999 killing at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Teens walked out of class to demand gun reform in honor of the victims.
School shootings remain a daily fear of students, teachers, and parents alike in America today. Even on the day of the walkout, a 17-year-old student was shot at Forest High School in Ocala, Florida. Thankfully, the student survived, but Friday’s shooting in Ocala marks the 20th school shooting in 2018 alone, according to CNN. This makes 2018 one of the deadliest years ever in terms of school shootings since 1999.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, there have already been 85 school shootings since Columbine. Because the federal government doesn’t track school shootings, there’s no official estimate of the number of people killed and injured in American school shootings since 1999. However, the paper counted 223 children, teachers and staff killed in school shootings since April 20, 1999.
But those numbers hide the trauma kids exposed to gun violence in school have to continue to face. The Washington Post’s estimate of the total number of children who have been traumatized by school shootings despite not being injured or killed to be in excess of 208,000 kids at 212 schools across the country.
Following the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and teachers dead, the #NeverAgain movement has inspired a wave of student-led civic action calling for comprehensive gun reform in the United States. This included the #MarchForOurLives on March 24th, which brought out anywhere from 200,000 to 800,000 people in Washington, DC alone, and hundreds of thousands more in other major cities.
If the April 20, 2018 National School Walkout is any indicator, the #NeverAgain movement is still growing in strength, and could result in electoral comeuppance for many of the National Rifle Association’s acolytes in Congress and state legislatures, with potentially millions of teenagers voting for the first time this year who will turn 18 prior to November 6, 2018.
Here are some photos of National School Walkout demonstrations honoring victims of Columbine and other school shootings across the United States:
— cass tommerstar (@cassandratomm) April 20, 2018
— ABC News (@ABC) April 20, 2018
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) April 20, 2018
Last month @JustinIBlackman was the only student to walk out at his school during the #NationalSchoolWalkout. Today he rallied his peers and is far from alone. Way to organize, Justin! ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/mKN3HonA8w
— Advancement Project (@adv_project) April 20, 2018
— Kyle O'Leary (@tkocreative) April 20, 2018
#HappeningNow: Hundreds of Chicago students pour into Grant Park for today’s #NationalSchoolWalkout against gun violence marking 19 years since the Columbine High School massacre, with many chanting, “This is what democracy looks like!” pic.twitter.com/35QgqRrRza
— The Chicago Reporter (@ChicagoReporter) April 20, 2018
— Ryan P. Delaney (@rpatrickdelaney) April 20, 2018
— ricardo vazquez (@_vricardo) April 20, 2018
— Em:) (@emilykilbourne) April 20, 2018
— YSA (@YouthService) April 20, 2018
— Ariana Garcia 🇵🇷 (@Ariana_noGrande) April 20, 2018
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.