Posted on March 15, 2018
By Matt Mallio in The Beacon
As many as a thousand students, parents, and community members participated in Thursday morning’s walkout to protest gun violence at Acton-Boxborough High School. The walkout was supposed to take place Wednesday but was rescheduled due to weather and safety concerns.
It was a larger crowd than organizers expected, and Charter Road was shut down to traffic by Acton and Boxborough police. Students and parents started trickling out of the building and walking up Charter Road to the school’s parking lot before the 10 a.m. start time. Before long, they had filled the space in front of the school, and stretched past the parking lot. Plenty of signs were displayed by kids and parents urging action to protect kids and not guns and to have stronger background checks, and that students have a right to live and see their graduation.
Students urge action and compassion
Seniors Mackenzie Cooper and Rachel Pryke, who organized the walkout, spoke before students, staff, parents, and community members gathered. They urged their fellow students to continue their activism after the Walkout and talk to lawmakers about the issue, participate in the National March for Our Lives on March 24 and, locally, to help all AB students feel welcome and accepted.
“Today we are gathered to remember the 17 victims,” said Cooper. “But tomorrow we take action.”
“Look around you,” Cooper said. “Look at our numbers. We are incredibly powerful.”
Reaction from parents and staff
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, said he was inspired and proud of the Acton-Boxborough students for their activism and getting involved.
Residents Susri Anurabha and Sunanda Pepalla were also in attendance. They expressed their admiration for the students for participating in the Walkout and the parents for supporting it.
“This is what I have come to expect from this town,” said Anurabha. “And I’m so proud to live in this town and support and support this effort.”
“I see this as probably the best example of a civics lesson that we could provide,” said Interim Superintendent William McAlduff after praising the students. “Peaceful, safe, and orderly activism can be a powerful message and no mater what side of the issue you’re on.”
Link to original article contains video from the event: http://acton.wickedlocal.com/news/20180315/estimated-1000-people-participate-in-ab-walkout