HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – March 14, 2018, marks one month since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people and started a nation-wide conversation about safety. As a result, the Women's March Youth "Empower" initiated the #Enough National School walkout on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. at all time zones, coast-to-coast. Students, teachers, parents and administrators were invited to take part in the national walkout. This is, in part, a call on Congress to pass tighter gun control laws.
However, students at St. James High School in Horry County are organizing what they call a "walk-in" instead. This comes after Horry County School district sent out an announcement earlier this week saying students in County schools who plan on participating in the National School Walkout Event today may face disciplinary action for leaving school without permission, citing safety concerns.
Student Body Events Coordinator at St. James High School, Catherine Morris, said the Parkland shooting impacted her the most because this is the first major school shooting she's old enough to remember.
Morris said the students at her school still wanted to do something to stand in solidarity for the victims of the Parkland Florida shooting, even though they weren't allowed to physically "walk out" due to safety concerns.
During the in-school walk out, students can walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes, a minute for each victim in Parkland. They also have a banner available for everyone at the school to sign and plan to send to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School afterwards.
Morris said the administration has been nothing but helpful and open throughout this whole process.
"Administration were saying 'we don't want it to be like we are sitting ducks.' They know the whole school is walking out on the 14th at 10 o'clock and what if something were to happen. So, this way is more of a controlled environment while still being symbolic and showing support for what we want to show support for. So, our principal has been very supportive he's like I want you all to do what you want to do what you want to do. So, it's very student-led. He's there but it's all student led in what we're doing in this," said Morris.
Senior at St. James High School and Young Democrats President, Ryan Thompson, led the event and said students aren't trying to make this a political event, they're just trying to show support for the school in Florida. Thompson said he hopes this movement across the nation sends a message to others.
"I think across the nation students are showing that we're tired of the 'what if' situation. We all want there to be more action done and I think that for those that are elected and although most of us are not old enough to vote yet, we're going to be the next generation of voters. So, we need to have our voices taken seriously because we are not little kids. We are all young adults and this is something that seems to be only happening to our generation and we want it to be solved," said Thompson.
On March 24, Morris plans on going to Columbia for the world-wide "March for our Lives" sister rally.