Walkout Flop? Thousands of Billings Students Stay in Class
Larry Mayer had the money shot photo for The Billings Gazette. As students gathered out front of Billings Senior High School after walking out of class, the Senior High billboard had the words "attendance matters" scrolling above.
As it turns out, only 250 of the 1,900 students actually took part in the protest that was initially prompted by the Bloomberg-backed gun control front group "Moms Demand Action." Even fewer students walked out of the cross-town Skyview High School.
As Matt Hoffman reported for the Gazette, one Billings student unfurled a pro 2nd Amendment flag with the words "2nd Amendment- America's Original Homeland Security" written on it. That apparently provoked an angry response from the pro-gun control side.
Former State Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann was quick to point out via Twitter that, while headlines reported on the hundreds of students who walked out of school, thousands more decided to stay in class.
His message was reinforced by the following quote from one Senior High student interviewed by KTVQ-TV:
"I think the people that started the walkout and were in charge of it really did push that it should be bipartisan," said Piper Stephens, a Senior High student who chose to stay inside during the walkout. "There were a lot of signs about gun control, more gun control, and I think that that just kind of reinforced my choice to stay in."
Meanwhile, in Columbia Falls, at least 50 students decided to hold their own counter protest, according to Montana Public Radio.
The Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell first reported on the pro-2nd Amendment counter protest on Tuesday.
“We want to state again that the intention is to honor the victims, but we are taking a different stance when it comes to gun control. The people running this [walkout] event have tried to claim that this is not a protest, but we can state the obvious here and that it is indeed a protest against guns, Congress, and the president himself,” Shewalter said.