Whitesboro, N.Y. - Whitesboro High School junior Catherine Yankowski says she will hold a walkout Tuesday afternoon at 1:25 p.m..
Yankowski, 16, says she has been inspired by the students of Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who have been speaking out about gun laws since a former student of the school opened fire 11 days ago with an AR-15 assault rifle which he legally obtained. 17 students and staff were killed.
Yankowski says she put out a SnapChat last week saying that she was going to hold her own protest and now says she has plenty of fellow students who will be joining her in walking out of school to protest.
Late Monday afternoon, Whitesboro School District Superintendent Brian Bellair announced he supports the student’s freedom of expression and released the following statement, “The district fully supports our students’ right to freedom of speech and expression and we share their concerns about school safety. The high school administration has developed a plan for students who wish to participate in the walkout. All students who would like to participate will be allowed to do so. As a district, we are always concerned about the safety and security of our students and staff. We commend our students for their willingness to make their position known on this very important issue.”
Yankowski says she believes if assault type weapons are made illegal, it would save lives, ”Whitesboro has armed guards and it would be much easier to take down some kid with a small little pistol than a full on assault rifle.”
When asked if she thought people would still be able to get their hands on assault rifles even if they became illegal, Yankowski said, “I think they could, but it would be a lot harder. I mean how easy do you think it would be for some 17-year-old to go on the black market and order guns like these awful things without no one noticing, it’s going to be very challenging.”