SANTA FE, N.M. — A New Mexico high school senior said students at some 300 schools plan a counter-protest to recent student walkouts across the country, this time supporting gun rights and the Second Amendment.
Carlsbad High School senior Will Riley said grieving teens have been exploited by gun-control interests and that a platform is needed for students on the other side of the debate.
Riley said students have indicated they might hold brief classroom walkouts Wednesday under the slogan “Stand for the Second.”
“We just want to have the same platform that students on the other side were given,” Riley said. “Really what I want to do is just to educate people about their constitutional rights that they may not know about.”
Organizers of Wednesday’s walkouts are suggesting a 16-minute break from classes.
On March 14, tens of thousands of students across the country left class for at least 17 minutes — one minute for each of those fatally shot in the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A group called Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund that backs conservative political ideals and candidates is actively promoting the walkout by distributing a how-to guide for the rallies with talking points and suggested messages for protest signs.
At Hunter High School in West Valley, Utah, rally organizer Collin Thorup told KUTV-TV most students won’t be participating, though he hopes to show his commitment to gun rights.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, charter school principal Susan Lumley of the Academy for Technology and the Classics said a handful of students will be holding a demonstration.
About 45 students from the same school marked the April 20 anniversary of the Columbine school massacre by organizing a discussion of school safety issues in the state Capitol with state legislators, school district officials and police.
“We sort of thrive on being able to have an intellectual debate on things without getting to emotionally involved,” she said.
At Carlsbad High School, Riley said the rally was scheduled near the close of school to avoid interfering with standardized testing.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools Superintendent Greg Rodriguez said Riley and city police met to ensure the rally remains on campus and doesn’t disrupt students who are trying to study.