Crescenta Valley students take part in nationwide walkout for gun reform


Crescenta Valley High School students joined their peers across the United States Wednesday in a walkout to denounce gun violence and call on lawmakers to enact gun-control legislation.

Around 200 students streamed onto the school field, chanting for reforms and carrying signs adorned with messages like “We’re Done Taking Bullets for Congress” and “Enough is Enough.” Many wore orange, a color associated with gun reform activists, who have adopted it in part because hunters wear it as a safety precaution.

The nationwide student movement emerged in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

During the local event, Crescenta Valley students read the names of the people killed in the shooting and released 17 doves, symbolizing each of the lives lost.

Zach Johnson, senior class vice president, said that, although Parkland is 3,000 miles away from La Crescenta, “today they are our neighbor and family.”

“We stand with them and students all across the country to say enough is enough,” the 18-year-old said.

Johnson later said thoughts and prayers weren’t enough from lawmakers, who he urged to take actual steps toward tamping down gun violence and school shootings.

He said actions like the walkout will hopefully galvanize politicians into passing gun-control legislation.

He attributed the lack of action to lawmakers caring more about checks from the National Rifle Assn. and getting reelected rather than preventing bloodshed.

Johnson called on his classmates to write their representatives and head to the polls to hold politicians accountable.

“We will not be silenced any longer,” he said. “We will continue to call you out on your [expletive] until you act like representatives that represent us.”

Eighteen-year-old Divya Parthasarathy recounted an experience she called one of the worst in her life. The high school senior was at a mall in Memphis, Tenn., when gunfire erupted outside in December.

Parthasarathy and her family dived for cover as multiple shots were fired.

“I was with one of my best friends, and we were holding each other, shaking, crying and fearing for our lives, listening to each gunshot,” she said.

No one should go through a similar experience, especially at a school, she said.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) praised the Crescenta Valley students and those around the country in a statement read during the walkout.

“Your activism gives me hope for the first time in a long time that we will pass meaningful and sensible gun legislation,” he said. “I encourage you to keep up this pressure; politicians are paying attention.”

Schiff said he was proud to see students advocating for reform and their right to feel safe at school.

Other Glendale Unified schools held walkout events. Hoover High students marched onto their field and released balloons. Rosemont Middle School staged a “die-in.”

Kristine Nam, a district spokeswoman, said the events went off safely and without a hitch.

“We’re proud of the kindness and respect displayed on our campuses,” she said.

Twitter: @Andy_Truc