Students at Broughton High School in Raleigh were just filing into the football field at 10 a.m. this morning when they were instructed to promptly turn around. Although they planned to take part in a nationwide, student-led walkout to call attention to gun violence, the event they coordinated would be postponed, they learned.
Students abandoned a line at a booth set upon the field to register voters and dashed back to class, chattering amongst themselves about the sudden change. “I heard something about Snapchat?” one girl breathlessly asked her friend as they headed back through the gates.
She was right. A threat on Snapchat was the reason for the delay, Wake County schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten clarified. The administration caught wind of the threat after a student reported the post and decided to delay the walkout.
“Because of the possible threat and the ongoing investigation, we decided it was in the best interest of our students to postpone today’s student walkout. We currently have extra law enforcement and WCPSS Security on campus as a precaution,” Broughton Principal Elena Ashburn wrote on the school’s website. “Be aware that we are taking all necessary steps to ensure a safe and orderly school environment.”
As all this unfolded, the atmosphere in the Broughton front office was one of confusion. Reporters and spectators loitered and waited for updates as the phone persistantly rang. They were then dismissed and told to return after the walkout was rescheduled. Student organizers of the walkout told the INDY they plan on rescheduling the event but have not confirmed a time.
The students at Broughton were among thousands of Triangle students who took part in the walkout to draw attention to gun violence and to honor the seventeen students and faculty fatally gunned down last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Today is the one-month anniversary of the shooting, which mobilized students at Stoneman Douglas and across the nation to call for stricter gun control laws. On March 24, thousands are expected to take part in a “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington D.C. and cities across the U.S. to demand action on gun control.
At Apex High, about five-hundred people participated in this morning’s walkout, student organizer Lillian Hlavin told the INDY.
Hlavin, a junior at Apex High, said she decided to get involved in the walkout after coming across a harrowing Snapchat video taken by a Stoneman Douglas student during last month’s school shooting.
“I saw the video and I broke down emotionally,” Hlavin said. “I started sobbing. I didn’t get any sleep that night. The next day I got on the bus and this guy walked on with a baseball bat and I thought it was a gun. It made it obvious to me that Apex High needed to get involved to make the change.”