April 20 Gun Safety Walkout and Protest

More than 250 students gathered in front of BV West joining a nationwide movement for gun law reform


Jolie Barnhart

Hear the new voices. Freshman Zakariya Ahmed using his powerful voice in order to communicate with his fellow classmates about the changes they are seeking for gun control during the nationwide school walk out on April 20th. Students took turns giving speeches to express their reasoning and empower their friends to join the Never Again movement. “I walkout because I believe there should be change in order for us to have a future,” Ahmed said. “I want to make my mom proud as I grow up!”

Safa Anjum and Jolie Barnhart, Photographers

After a single gunman with an AR-15 assault rifle killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, teenagers have been at the forefront of the discussion on reforming gun laws. BV West students joined that group on April 20 at 10 a.m. The group gathered peacefully near the front entrance of the school. Many had signs. Some spoke.

Look for a more detailed story and an expanded photo gallery over the next several days.

Numerous students carried powerful protest signs.

Seniors George Leondedis, Archana Sundar and junior April Ma talk to the crowd about why they were all participating.

Students made signs on their own in preparation for the event. Some borrowed slogans from an earlier walk out in March but most were original.

At the beginning of the walkout, almost 500 students crowded the front circle. 

Sundar holds the bullhorn for senior Mel Koerner. Koerner was one of the first students to suggest the walkout and spent a lot of time building the twitter following and meeting with administration.

Students assembled throughout the walkout to share their signs with a variety of people.

Sundar holds the bullhorn for senior Holly Arend. Arend and Sundar wore the shirts designed by a BVNW student who organized the walkout at their school.

Sundar and junior Tommy Sulentic hold up two fingers, mimicking those on the shirt to show their commitment to the cause of peace.

Leondedis becomes impassioned as he speaks about changes needed in gun laws.

Sulentic and Sundar listen as members of the crowd share their thoughts spontaneously. 

Senior Archana Sundar, one of the organizers of the BV West event, articulates that students should protest peacefully.

Junior Tommy Sulentic expresses the reasons behind why he is was protesting. “I saw pictures of the shooting in Parkland (Florida) and their school looked just like our school,” Sulentic said.

Sophomore Kess Wieser expresses the reason she joined the Walk Out. Weiser lived in Connecticut before coming to Kansas and attending the school closest to Sandy Hook. She described being in “lockdown” knowing that there was an active shooter at the neighboring school.

Juniors April Ma and Allie Conde comfort one another at the protest.

Students showed a variety of emotions throughout the event.

Students raise their hands up, making the peace symbol to depict the meaning behind the two fingers that adorn the t-shirts designed to commemorate the event.

“Am I Next”? Juniors and sophomores join together in making a statement about how they feel about current gun laws.


Sundar, speaks into one a microphone connected to a speaker as Ma holds a bullhorn so that the hundreds of students assembled could hear what was said.


The crowd reacts to some of the Sundar’s comments.

Senior George Leondedis joins Sundar in the front of the school to speak to the crowd. His no-nonsense vocabulary and impassioned speech energized the other students.

Junior Brandon Kohnle joins Sundar to speak to the crowd.

The crowd listened attentively and responded enthusiastically to the speakers.

Students assembled offered each other a great deal of support.

Sophomore Christina Onuzuruike takes the microphone to explain why she feels gun laws should be reformed to include banning military-style automatic weapons.

Sophomores and juniors listen attentively to the speakers.

Several students rose to speak from the crowd. This speaker didn’t state her name and only spoke for a moment before being overcome by emotion.

Another spontaneous speaker described her opinion on empathy without sharing her name.

A freshman and proponent of the 2nd Amendment set up a table during the walkout to try to persuade students that guns weren’t the biggest problem.