Governor says students protesting gun violence are being manipulated by ‘left-wing group’

He urged students to participate in prayer instead of protest.

Gov. Henry McMaster (R). CREDIT: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Gov. Henry McMaster (R). CREDIT: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said thousands of high school students across the country walking out of their classrooms Wednesday morning to protest gun violence was “shameful.”

McMaster told South Carolina public television network ETV Wednesday that the students are “being used as a tool by [this] left-wing group to further their own agenda,” The Hill reported.

“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,” McMaster said.

The governor instead suggested that South Carolina students choose to pray for the victims rather than protest.

McMaster is on the record saying he would support a bill choosing to arm teachers, echoing the policy platform of President Donald Trump, a platform unpopular with students. Just in the past few weeks, there have been a number of incidents wherein armed school resource officers and teachers have mistakenly fired their guns on school grounds.

Students across the nation protested gun violence on Wednesday by walking out of their schools for a 17-minute demonstration. That 17 minutes represents the 17 people who died in a February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students left their schools and universities at 10 a.m. in their local time zones as part of the National School Walkout organized by the Women’s March Youth Empower group.

An estimated 2,500 schools planned walkouts for Wednesday afternoon.

nationwide march against gun violence is planned for March 24.