Thousands of students in western Pennsylvania joined thousands more across the nation in school walkouts in support of Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to push lawmakers to enact more gun control laws.
For 17 minutes -- one for each of the Parkland, Florida, victims killed -- students marched out of class to participate in the “ENOUGH National School Walkout.”
Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School
Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School students stood together, arm-in-arm and in silence, surrounding their school. Some carried signs, like, “Fear has no place in our schools” and “#NeverAgain.”
“I feel we shouldn't be in school in fear of another shooting happening. I know that a lot of our friends can relate, especially because we go to school downtown. It's a big concern for us,” Carmel Ricketts, a freshman at CAPA who helped organize the walkout, said.
Standing in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Parkland, CAPA students also want to put a spotlight on gun laws.
One of the organizers at CAPA said she’d like to see the minimum age to buy guns raised. She’d also like to see them less accessible.
Canon-Mcmillan Senior High School
Meanwhile, students at Canon-McMillan Senior High School said they didn’t want Wednesday’s walkout to be political and wrote speeches that were pro-safety instead of pro- or anti-gun.
“This was never meant to be anti-gun. We will never be able to take away all the guns. We want regulations that make us in the public and in our schools as safe as possible,” Natalie Ackerman, a senior at Canon-Mac, said.
Canon Mac students preparing to walk out at 9:45am for National Walkout Day. They’ll be among thousands of students across the U.S. protesting gun violence. These shirts says #enough. pic.twitter.com/9P8C4HdvRI— Cara Sapida (@WPXICara) March 14, 2018
Some Canon-Mac students wore orange #Enough T-shirts. The shirts were sold for $10 and a portion of the proceeds will go toward the March for Our Lives campaign.
To honor the lives lost in Parkland, Canon-Mac students had a moment of silence, followed by the naming of each of the 17 people killed.
Greensburg-Salem High School
At Greensburg-Salem High School, about 400 students walked out of class -- but instead of going outside, they gathered inside the gymnasium.
During their 17 minutes of solidarity, Greensburg-Salem students wrote postcards to politicians, signed petitions and released 17 balloons for the Parkland victims who lost their lives.
“I think to make people aware, too, and show that we all have a voice and we're trying to make a change. This stuff can happen, and it's real. People don't think it will happen here, and that's what they say, but then it does,” Jordan Mitchell, a senior at Greensburg-Salem High School, said.
Principal David Zilli told Channel 11 the demonstration was not specifically about gun control but rather safer education.
Below is a list of numerous other schools across western Pennsylvania from which students said, "ENOUGH."
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The superintendent sent a letter saying the school was working with students to facilitate a safe event. He said he considers the walkout to be free speech, but also respects the students who did not want to participate.
A letter sent to parents said that students would be participating in events related to the national walkout; however, “the activity for this student movement will occur within our buildings to ensure the safety of all children and staff.”
An email to parents of Freeport Area School District students said there would be an alternative response to a walkout.
Students at the middle and high school held a moment of silence, then those at the high school had the option of signing a letter to state and federal officials, encouraging action to keep their schools safe.
According to the email, students are encouraged to engage in random acts of kindness.
Parents were encouraged to talk to their children about the dangers of exiting the school building.
Fox Chapel students said they would be walking out, per a Twitter account that was created.
A letter sent by the superintendent said the school supported students who wanted to walk out and worked with the Hampton Police Department to ensure the safety of students.
Students at Northgate decided not to participate in the national walkout, instead showing support by participating in a 17-minute moment of silence to commemorate the 17 victims, according to a Facebook post.
All students were asked to stay in the building. Any that did walk out would face disciplinary consequences.
At Norwin High School, 328 students signed up to walk out for a 17-minute period of silence with a name of a Parkland victim being read each minute.
Pittsburgh Public Schools
Alderdice High School had a walkout and at Barack Obama Academy of International Studies, a sophomore was to lead a walkout there.
Other schools encouraged students and staff to engage in activities inside the school to acknowledge the event.
Seton Hill University
The university will host a series of events in partnership with students, teachers and allies at high schools and colleges across the country participating in the national walkout.
A 17-minute ceremony was held at 10 a.m. on the lawn of the Administration Building. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to write letters to legislators in Lowe Dining Hall.
A banner will be in Maura Solarium from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. that can be signed before being sent to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
A panel discussion on mass shootings will conclude the day at 8:30 p.m. in the Rose O'Brien Center for Campus Ministry on the second floor of Maura Hall.
School administrators and student leaders worked together to coordinate for School Violence Awareness Day. They will provide students with safe activities in which they can choose to participate.
The high school will have an extended midday homeroom and the auditorium will be available for students to convene.
The district is holding an assembly to raise awareness of school violence and shootings. The students will also be participating in a walkout.
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