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Student walkouts held to protest gun violence

22 April 2018, 01:56 | Lucy Hill

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On Friday, the walkouts were sparked by 16-year-old Lane Murdock, a Ridgefield High School in CT, who began an online petition on Change.org calling for the protest following the February shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 14 students and three staff members dead.

The students also held a "die-in", lying flat on the cold concrete for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the same amount of time in which the Parkland shooting occurred.

"I think he said he was getting bullied and would like protection on the way here".

The Ocala Star Banner newspaper said a 19-year-old former student at Forest High School fired a blast from a shotgun into a locked classroom door, wounding a 17-year-old student in the ankle.

Many students expressed that the February shooting that killed 17 people at Parkland, Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was their tipping point.

Students did not come out to meet the group.

The protest on Friday was billed as the National School Walkout and was organized in part by 16-year-old Arielle Geismar, a junior at Beacon High School in New York City. No Conway public school students walked out, a district spokesman said.

"I really feel like I'm in a peer group with students across the country, and we're the ones who are being affected, so we're the ones that have to make change", Maren said.

In March, events were offered, coordinated through the schools.

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"A lot of times our voice is not heard, and so I think just getting our bodies here to say we are here, we are part of this conversation, you can not shut us out [is important]", said Alejandro Eduarte, a junior at Edison Senior High School in Minneapolis. Specifically, they hope it lowers gun violence rates in lower income communities, which they said have struggled with the issue for a long time.

With anxiety over his safety, fellow Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts student William Black said, "I just don't want to have to go through every day having the fear that I'm going to get shot", stating a common theme among the students at the rally.

"We're just out here trying to make a difference".

Measures the teens ask for include banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; closing a loophole in background checks for those purchasing guns online or at gun shows; and adding mandatory waiting periods between the purchase and delivery of firearms.

Schools from across the United States participated in the walkout.

"There's been over 45 school shootings this year alone", Kaihinjik Alexander, Lathrop High School. We keep talking. We keep working.

"Make a stand for what we believe in, and walking out is a good way to do that because we can quite physically put our bodies in front of the world for them to see and so we protest actively", Kellerher said.

Meanwhile, in CT, the students put up a sign on a fence by the football field that read, "Can't hear us now?"

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