Students at Mount Vernon hold walkout to protest gun violence

Students holding signs

Mount Vernon students hold signs during their walkout Friday morning. (Camille Barsa image)

Mount Vernon High School is the latest Richmond Highway area school to hold a walkout protesting gun violence in the wake of last week’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Students at the school walked out of the building at 10 a.m. Friday and gathered near the rock in front of the school for a 17-minute protest, honoring the 17 students murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. 

Mount Vernon senior Camille Barsa helped organize the walkout, saying the Florida murders have made many students deeply concerned about their safety. 

“School should be a place where we feel safe,” Barsa said. “We are the voices of the future and we will continue to make our voices heard.”

Videos and images shared on social media showed a large crowd Mount Vernon students participating in chants and holding signs. 

Students from Edison, Hayfield, West Potomac and Mark Twain Middle School staged walkouts earlier in the week, and students nationwide have been participating in various protests calling for stricter gun control. 

Friday’s protest also comes a day after the Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution on gun violence prevention, calling for state and national politicians to take steps to ensure that children in schools are safe from mass shootings. 

“[T]he responsibility for preventing gun violence incidents cannot be relegated to school districts alone,” the board said. “Therefore be it resolved that the Fairfax County School Board calls upon the United States Congress and state legislatures … to prioritize the protection of students and school system employees by passing legislation that more effectively regulates access to firearms in the interest of public safety, funds public-health research on firearms-related issues, and advances mental health supports.”