Thousands of Philadelphia students walked out of classrooms this past Wednesday, joining a nationwide protest against gun violence in schools.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, virtually all of the demonstrations were "grassroots" efforts and student-run. While some lasted for 17 minutes — in honor of the 17 students and staff killed exactly a month prior during a shooting in Parkland, Fla. — other protests lasted longer, as some students traveled to Philadelphia School District’s Center City headquarters and then gathered at City Hall.
While schools differed in their responses to the protests, the School District of Philadelphia released a letter stating that it did not support student walkouts, but added that schools would not prevent or punish participation.
"Students who choose to walk out will be provided an opportunity to gather in a designated area, so that any walkouts will take place in an organized and safe manner," the letter said.
Just days after Penn students protested against gun violence on Feb. 22, a statement from Dean of Admissions Eric Furda affirmed that peacefully protesting gun violence will not negatively affect a student's admission process into Penn.
Over 1,000 of Central High School's 2,400 students walked out, as well as two-thirds of Lower Merion High School's student body of 1,300, the Inquirer reported.
At nearby Penn Alexander Elementary school, students demonstrated by forming a peace sign with their bodies.
Members of the Penn community also participated in Wednesday's walkout, including Penn Law students. Employees of the Wistar Institute, a private biomedical research institution located within Penn’s campus, gathered on the sidewalk outside of their lab in solidarity.