This is the 16-year-old behind the national school walkout fox40

The 253-year-old New England colonial sits behind a stone wall erected by a wary homeowner after the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in the early 1930s. But, as the Ridgefield High School sophomore sat in front of her laptop, with Benny Goodman playing on her portable turntable, it must have felt as though no fortification could ever protect a generation growing up in the age of the active shooter.

Their actions became part of a burgeoning, student-led gun control movement born from an epidemic of campus attacks. It was expected to be the biggest walkout since March 14, when scores of students across the United States walked out of class to honor the Parkland victims and to make sure calls for change account for the broad context of gun violence.


“Then she said, ‘At the end of the day, it’s up to you guys,’” said Lane, who took that to mean students — rather than adults — held responsibility for curbing the school shooting epidemic. “It kind of annoyed me. It was up to them to change this, and they haven’t. That infuriated me.”

That night, amid the social media buzz over one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history, Lane listened to ’30s swing and the Beatles and “poured my heart out” on a change.org petition, addressed to the US Senate and the President, that now has more than 255,000 signatures.

Lane and other Ridgefield students soon formed what would become the first chapter of the National School Walkout movement. In late March, she and others walked out of a school board meeting when it appeared officials would not support the walkout. The board relented.

The movement, Lane said, is about “empowering students” to fight against federal and state government inaction on gun violence. It encourages young people to push for solutions that range from banning assault weapons to mandating universal background checks for gun buyers to allowing families to petition courts to remove guns from people at risk of hurting themselves or others, according to the walkout website.

Lane and some of her classmates took to the streets March 24, for the national March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, which was organized by young survivors-turned-activists from Parkland. Lane met some of them, along with teens who live with gun violence daily in cities such as Washington, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

“There are kids … who don’t have the platform that I have, who haven’t gotten the media attention they deserve,” said Lane, whose mother is from Texas and father is from Puerto Rico. “I do come from a position of privilege, and I have the time and resources to do something like this.”

The walkout has become a huge undertaking for Lane, who sometimes rises at 5 a.m. to respond to emails and phones calls. Then, she goes to class all day before juggling school work, event organizing and a couple media interviews in the evenings.

“It’s muscle memory for a lot of us,” she said. “I can even recite it from memory: ‘This is a lockdown drill. In the event of an actual emergency further instructions will be provided.’ A teacher turns off the lights. Closes the door. Shut the blinds. … It’s built into us.”