High school students across the country staged walkouts on Wednesday to demand that lawmakers tackle gun violence by implementing commonsense gun control.
The “Never Again” demonstrations began after a young man with an assault-style rifle killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week and wounded more than a dozen more.
Hundreds of students across Miami-Dade and Broward counties in South Florida walked out of school mid-morning on Wednesday, their action broadcast live as a news helicopter followed from above.
“We want to show support for those who lost their lives and make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” one student from Cypress Bay High School told Local 10 News.
Several hundred students, including some from Stoneman Douglas High, took a bus to the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee to press the issue with state lawmakers there. Further protests across the region are expected later Wednesday; the state also saw walkouts on Tuesday.
In Maryland, hundreds of students from at least three high schools in Montgomery County walked out Wednesday, many of them heading toward the U.S. Capitol for a gun control rally:
Students also gathered outside the White House, holding up signs and chanting, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
Daniel Gelillo, a senior at Richard Montgomery High in Rockville, Maryland, helped organize part of the local protest. He said students are taking to the streets because they’ve had enough of politicians’ inaction.
“All people in this country, particularly children, should feel safe and should not live in fear of a gunman killing them in their school, place of worship, or a nightclub,” Gelillo wrote in a press release. “We expect our leaders to do whatever is required to keep us safe. That has not happened.”
He continued, “We are young and can fight until we can vote and then we can vote out every politician that obstructs real change and is owned by the NRA.”
Not all schools condoned such teenage activism.
The Houston-area Needville Independent School District threatened Tuesday to suspend students for three days if they walked out or otherwise disrupted school in protest.
“Needville ISD will not allow a student demonstration during school hours for any type of protest or awareness!!” Superintendent Curtis Rhodes wrote in a note sent to parents. “Should students choose to do so, they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out of school suspension.”
“Life is all about choices,” Rhodes wrote, “and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative.”