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National School Walkout Day: are today's protests effective?

National School Walkout Day: are today's protests effective?




DALLAS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- The school bells didn't ring, but Friday many students walked out of class anyway.

The 19th anniversary of the Columbine Shooting has turned into the National School Walkout Day, catapulted by more recent school shootings.

"The government's highest obligation is public safety. And that is why we are here today - to demand that we are kept safe," said a student in Harrisburg.

Students at our state's capitol brought their voices to the table.

"Without a sense of caring, there cannot be a sense of community," she continued.

We asked one Misericordia University history professor whether there's any indication that these young people will accomplish what they want.

"It'd be nice if we had a set criteria of what we could look for to say 'this movement is going to be successful' or not. But history is so idiosyncratic, that it's hard to predict what's going to be successful," said Dr. Jennifer Black, Associate Professor of History.

But she says there are visual similarities between protest movements today and protest movements in the past, noting elements of non-violence, and disagreeing with older generations.

"Protests of the 60's were very good about using public media like television and newspapers to publicize their cause, and it's difficult to be upset with protesters when they're young, innocent looking faces," she said, noting that many young people have more opportunities to protest because they're not tied down to jobs and aren't subject to law in the same way.

Dr. Black says if history is any indicator, this heated call for gun-reform won't see results overnight.

"Protests movements in the past - we see different kinds of tactics being taken by different kinds of groups. Adults protested for nearly a century before they were able to win an eight hour work day and forty hour work week," she said. "That fight's not over. They're going to keep fighting and time will tell."

At the time, Columbine was our country's deadliest high school shootings, but after February's shooting in Parkland, Florida, that's no longer the case.

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