WNPR

Connecticut Students Join Nationwide Walkout They Organized

Apr 20, 2018

At 10:00 am Friday morning, hundreds of students walked out of Ridgefield High School to send a message to lawmakers that they want new gun legislation enacted. Theirs was one of 2,500 schools across the country taking part in the day of action.

Lane Murdock, a sophomore, led the charge toward a student-driven demonstration that took place at the school’s football stadium.

“I think that this is a new future for America, and regardless of if politicians are ready for it, change is happening,” Murdock said. “And they can’t stop time.”

Ridgefield’s walkout was special because Murdock started the national movement that led to the day’s events.

It began with a change.org petition that she started in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February. Murdock asked students to sign the petition in support of a walkout on April 20 — the 19th anniversary of the Columbine Shooting. She brought that up when she spoke to her classmates.

“Some of us weren’t even born yet and we still haven’t had the changes we have asked for time and time again,” Murdock said.

"Seeing my peers mobilize like this, seeing us all come together in a way like I’ve never seen before -- it gives me chills," said Grant Yaun, 17, another one of the organizers.

Students not only called on lawmakers to enact tighter gun laws, but they said they want them to stop taking money from the National Rifle Association.

As Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal addressed Ridgefield’s student body, he boasted about the poor rating he’s received from the NRA.

“I’m not recommending ‘F’s’ to anyone here, but if the NRA is giving you a grade, it better be ‘F,” Blumenthal said. “Thank you for being here. Thank you for making history.”

Hundreds of students gathered on the football field of Ridgefield High School as part of the National School Walkout on April 20, 2018. Students at Ridgefield organized the walkout's nationwide.
Credit Natalie Cioffari / WSHU

Organizers invited the local League of Women Voters to hold a drive at the event to register new voters. It’s their hope that students register to vote in order to effect change.

WSHU's Cassandra Basler contributed to this report.