Lauren Dibble, Staff Writer
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster spoke against students across the country who participated in National Walkout Day Wednesday, March 14, just one month after 17 students were killed in a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
About 530 students participated in walkouts at about 12 high schools in the largest school district in South Carolina, Greenville County district, spokeswoman Beth Brotherton said. Students nationwide walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence and demand change.
While McMaster was addressing members of the media at the State House he called the demonstration shameful and that the protests are a tactic implemented by a left-wing group to use teens to propagate their political agenda.
McMaster stated, "I imagine a lot of them intend to pray and to hope for the families of those who were slain." McMaster continued. "But this is a tricky move, I believe, by a left-wing group from the information I've seen, to use these children as a tool to further their own means. It sounds like a protest to me. It's not a memorial, it's certainly not a prayer service, it's a political statement by a left-wing group and it's shameful."
The Associated Press reported that students in South Carolina who participated in the walkout will be cited for cutting class. School officials had cautioned students against taking part.
Thousands of high school students across the country, including in South Carolina, participated in various demonstrations. Several schools opted for demonstrating inside their school and others did alternative protests such as prayer vigils, kindness acts and more.
Since the Florida shooting, students have been leading the charge on gun control, demanding that lawmakers pass new gun laws to keep their schools safe.