LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Another nationwide school walkout is planned today, marking the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado and protesting what organizers call the failure of elected officials to tackle gun violence.
It was unclear exactly how many students in the Southland will participate in the walkout, but organized student gatherings have been planned on multiple campuses, including open-microphone forums and discussions with local elected leaders.
Organizers of the National School Walkout said the event is student- motivated, with more than 2,100 walkouts planned nationally, at least one in every state.
``We are walking out for those who lost their lives to gun violence, to talk about the real problems our country is facing and to find solutions (for) the problems that our leaders have failed to address,'' organizers said.
The walkouts are expected at 10 a.m. on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, which left 12 students and one teacher dead, in addition to the two gunmen.
Students at Culver City Middle School, 4601 Elenda St., plan to walk out of class and gather at Veterans Memorial Park, 4117 Overland Drive, where they will voice their opinions on gun violence.
``Simply walking out will not change everything, but allowing students to get their voices heard and take action is motivation within itself that can lead the path for change,'' eighth-grade student and event co-organizer Kira Grimes said. ``It's an act of symbolism and allows us to fight for a cause that directly affects us so change can commence and we no longer have to come to school fearing for our lives.''
Student-organized events are also scheduled at several Los Angeles Unified School District campuses. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, and School Police Chief Steven Zipperman will take part in a forum at Dorsey High School, while Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, will meet with students at University High School.
Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer Jr., D-Los Angeles, will meet with students at Alliance Collins Family College Ready High School in Huntington Park. Students at Cleveland Charter High Schol in Reseda will gather in the campus quad for a voter-registration drive and to call on government leaders to act on gun control.
Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and LAUSD Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian, meanwhile, will meet with students at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles.
A coalition of community groups plans to stage a protest outside LAUSD headquarters, 333 S. Beaudry Ave., at 1 p.m., calling for safer schools and the elimination of random searches of students.
A district-wide gathering of students is planned at Santa Ana City Hall, where information booths will be set up and speakers will discuss issues of gun control and student involvement in political issues.