Students across the nation and state walked out of school Friday as part of a national movement protesting gun violence in schools, but efforts will likely need to shift to keep up the momentum.
Hundreds of students in the state participated in the latest nationally-organized walkout, but some chose not to this time around, in part due to ISTEP testing.
Brandon Warren, founder of anti-gun violence group We LIVE INC., participated in demonstrations last month, and, helped organize the Indianapolis March for Our Lives Rally. This time, he says, some students don’t feel the same energy to participate in a walkout, though he says We LIVE members are still involved.
“Showing our support is you know, strongly encouraging our peers through message of social media – I believe social media is our biggest platform to show support,” he says.
Warren says less student participation in the state could be due to how safe Indiana schools have been so far. But he says We LIVE focuses not just on gun violence in schools, and will continue to advocate for safer communities everywhere.
Overall, director of the Mike Downs Center For Indiana Politics Andrew Downs, says efforts to address gun violence and school safety will need a multi-pronged approach in the long-term.
“The reality is you have to engage on every front you can,” he says.
He says this student-led movement had a strong start with action after the Parkland, Florida shooting, but organizers will need to highlight successes so far, to maintain that energy. To make policy change, he says activists need to connect with the people who are responsible for writing laws and working with other elected officials to garner their support.