Thousands of students across the country walked out of school Thursday in protest of lawmakers’ inaction on gun control, two days after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Students Demand Action, a grassroots group that is part of the organization Everytown for Gun Safety, organized walkouts at more than 200 schools in at least 34 states to call on lawmakers to take action against gun violence.
From California to Rhode Island, students chanted “Enough is enough” and held homemade signs that read “Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” “How many more kids” and “Fuck the NRA.”
On Tuesday, an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 children ― mostly 10-year-olds ― and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a predominantly Latinx community in South Texas.
The shooting occurred less than two weeks after an 18-year-old white supremacist shot and killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
Four years ago, thousands of students walked out of class across the country calling for Congress to pass gun safety measures after a former student shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Here’s some of what students are saying across the country:
On Thursday, students walked out of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, where two students were killed in a school shooting in 2019. “It happened to me... It could happen to you,” one student’s sign read. Another sign simply read “Fuck the NRA.”
Students from Oak Park and River Forest High School, in a suburb of Chicago, told a crowd of classmates: “It was never about the children or mental health. It’s about money... Until our country learns to put lives over property, the cycle will continue.”
Students walked out of Oxford High School, where a 16-year-old shot and killed four of his classmates in November. The high schoolers formed a “U” on the football field in honor of Uvalde.
In Kansas City, one student painted a sign with blood-red hand prints and the words “I want to feel safe.” In Saint Charles, a student who walked out of school told her mother: “Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
In Camden, high school students walked out yelling “Stop the violence.” Signs read: “We need gun control!”
In Queens, one student who walked out of school held a sign that read: “How many more kids have to die before our lawmakers act.”
In Shaker Heights, one girl had written on her poster: “Y’all wanna ban abortion because ‘it’s killing babies’ but no gun control?”
Students in Providence gathered outside the State House and staged a “die-in,” lying on the ground in protest to call for legislative action on guns.
In Charlottesville, teens held homemade signs reading “Enough is enough” and “How many more kids.” One sign read: “How loud do the screams have to be before you listen?”
Mariella Boudreau, a senior at Whitefish Bay High School, told Spectrum News that “keeping guns out of our schools is one of the most important things.”
“It is so painful to see all of those stories of children getting killed at school,” she said, “especially because school should be the place where you are the most safe and you feel the most protected.”