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Home / US / The National School Walkout on April 20 was the brainchild of this 16-year-old: NPR

The National School Walkout on April 20 was the brainchild of this 16-year-old: NPR



Lane Murdock, a high school student, says she felt deaf after the shootings in Parkland, Florida, and knew that it was time for her to change.

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Lane Murdock, a high school student, says she felt deaf after the shootings in Parkland, Florida, and knew that it was time for her to change things.

Christian Carter / WSHU

When Lane Murdock, a sophomore sophomore, learned that 17 high school students and educators were killed in a shootout in Parkland, Florida, she says she is deaf.

For her and so many other shootings can all too often feel in the US

"At the time I was in high school, we had the Pulse, Las Vegas and now, [the Parkland] filming," says Murdock.

The same On February 14, Murdock launched a Change.org petition that has received more than a quarter of a million signatures so far. They ask? A strike against violence in schools, which she planned with the anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Murdock was born in 2002.

On one of the last days of Spring Break, she and seven other students from her high school in Ridgefield, Connecticut, gather around a few tables in her City Rec Center. They worked hard, even lost their sleep and tried to organize themselves for the day. As Murdock says, "Success knows no sleep."

This is by far the biggest event they have ever planned. She and her team have registered more than 2500 disputes across the country through their website. They've created a long to-do list, ranging from a stage for speeches for their local strike to the national press.

Ridgefield High School student organizers in Connecticut made placards for nationwide use School Friday strike against gun violence in schools.

Christian Carter / WSHU


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Ridgefield High School student organizers in Connecticut made posters for the nationwide school strike on Friday to protest gun violence in schools.

Christian Carter / WSHU

"Prioritizing," Murdock tells her team, "we will not be able to get 100 percent of those things, I can guarantee that, but it's important that we get the important things."

Murdock wants the way out to go down in history, but acknowledges that it does not represent each student's perspective. Some surveys show that young people are no more liberal than older generations in gun control.

And other students who regularly use gun violence have said they do not feel in social movements after the shootings in Parkland.

"There is rifle violence that happened every day, which is not a school shooting," says Murdock. She wants the day to be inclusive. On the other hand, she knows that it will be uncomfortable.

"We constantly get hate comments online because we upset people, and we upset people because we scare them and when we're scared. That's because we do something," she says.

She wants people to know that she envisioned this day very differently than the March for our lives or the 17 minute silence on March 14 in honor of the victims in Parkland, Florida. This strike lasts from 10 am until the end of the day.

Lane Murdock (left) and Paul Kim are two of the student organizers for Friday's strike.

Christian Carter / WSHU


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Lane Murdock (left) and Paul Kim are two of the student organizers for Friday's strike.

Christian Carter / WSHU

"People ask me how, why, why all day?" Murdock says. Because "this is an issue that earns more than 17 minutes." Part of the agenda is to bring students together what they call a "call to action" by registering voters or writing to elected representatives, for example, on the need for further arms control.

These student organizers have gotten help from a national non-profit organization called Indivisible, a group that says that it aims to "empower" young people to resist "Trump's agenda." Paul Kim, a senior communications executive in Ridgefield, says Indivisible helped high school organizers map their stakes online.

"I've signed every chapter in Texas," says Kim about all the disputes I've registered. "And those people sent back … I could feel Texas in the email, the accent, everything." The group laughs.

For Murdock, the widespread support she has seen shows that sensible gun control does not have to be partisan.

"She is not conservative or liberal Children are not hurt at school and we do not live in a community and in a country that has institutionalized fear," says Murdock. "I think we're all full, that's why we do it."

She grew up with this fear. Her school had regular lockdown exercises after 26 students and educators were killed in a shootout at Sandy Hook Elementary School when she was in fifth grade. It happened only 20 miles from her classroom.

She says there's a reason she felt desensitized when she heard about Parkland. She and her team of co-organizers in Ridgefield say gun violence in the US is taking too long.

A poster made by students at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut for school attendance.

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A poster by Ridgefield High School students in Connecticut for attending school

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"Change happens through patience and this fight does not end after April 20," says Murdock. "There's going to be a lot of work to do after April 20, and that includes you, and it will involve tons of students across the nation," she says with the group.

At 10 o'clock in local time on Friday, thousands of students from their classes will drive in Orange to ensure gun safety and to sing for change.


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