High school students at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie joined the thousands of students across Illinois and the country in the national walkout at 10AM Wednesday, March 14, marking the one month anniversary of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.
At ICJA this meant reciting tehillim for the victims and then honoring their memories. Students read short bios of many of the victims and then set off 17 orange balloons in their honor. The program ended with a few minutes for students to call their representatives to express their concern over school safety.
ICJA student Bayli Alter, who organized the ICJA walkout with fellow student Jacob Miller, says, “This shooting in Parkland hit us really hard. Doing nothing and sitting at the sidelines while others stand up for what they believe in is something I have never been able to do, and I don’t plan on starting now.”
Miller adds, “I believe that high school student’s voices will be heard in the aftermath of the Parkland attack: it’s important for us as high school students to stand with our peers and to advocate against hate and violence to ensure atrocities like Parkland never happen again.”
ICJA administration was supportive of students’ decision to join the walkout. Rabbi Leonard Matanky, dean, says, “The Academy is proud to support our students as they try to impact the world. Our greatest hope for the future is our students, and we applaud their activism and their concern.”
Called the #Enough Walkout, the walkout began at 10AM and lasted exactly 17 minutes. The number of minutes was to honor the 17 students and teachers who were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.
In the weeks since the massacre that left 17 dead, the teen survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have become vocal advocates for gun reform, spurring a nationwide debate on policies that would prevent future mass shootings.