Students pour out of class to say they’re fed up with gun violence
They wrote it in marker on poster boards; they turned it into a trending hashtag; they spelled it with their bodies across football fields: “Enough.”
Students across the nation and Washington state walked out of school Wednesday morning to demonstrate their support for more gun control measures one month after a deadly shooting at a Florida high school where 17 people were killed.
Herminia Gabriel, a seventh grader at Finn Hill Middle School in Kirkland, planned to walk out because she said it's time that adults figure out new ways to prevent school shootings.
“It could turn even worse, you don't know what could happen next,” she said. “It could happen to you, it could happen to your family.”
Some Seattle students marched to a rally at Red Square on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
“We must make a difference,” said Zach Heffron, a senior at Nathan Hale High School, speaking to a crowd of hundreds during a walkout rally at Red Square on the University of Washington campus.
“We know that thoughts and prayers won’t make that difference, legislation will,” Heffron said. “We must be the generation to speak because if adults won’t make change, we make noise. I am proud to walk among this generation – the generation to rise.”
Students at Marysville Pilchuck High School also joined the walkout. The high school was the site of a deadly mass shooting in 2014. Five students, including the shooter, died.
“I’m kind of done being sad about it and I’m just really mad about it,” said senior Olivya Cerdinio, who was a freshman when the shooting occurred.
She said she has had a hard time talking about it. But she was inspired when students in Parkland, Florida, sparked a nationwide gun debate after the tragic shooting in their school.
Now she wants change. “I think that our school has some authority to do that,” said Cerdinio.
17-year-old Rhiannon Rasaretnam helped organize the Tahoma High School walkout that about 200 students participated in.
“The womens march, science march – it was all adults that was up on stage, and all the adults that were trying to make change,” said Rasaretnam.
“And so I hope that seeing these students organize across the country will help inspire other students to step up and make differences in what whey believe in.”
Rasaretnam is also helping lead a student led march in Seattle later this month.
Many school districts, including Seattle and Lake Washington, say any students who participate in the walkout will be considered as taking an unexcused absence.
Meantime, gun rights advocates said that boosting law enforcement and improving security at schools could make schools safer without restricting ownership.
Additional reporting by Martin Kaste, Kim Malcolm, Aliyah Musalir, and Derek Wang.