A few hundred students from Skyview High School walked out of class around 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, leading cheers and waving signs advocating for safer schools and gun restrictions.
The walkout, said one student leader, was part of a national movement in schools across the country.
“All we want is safer schools, however that may be,” said Clara Hawkins, a Skyview junior who was among a handful of students leading Thursday’s protest. “Maybe it’s metal detectors, better security. I feel that we should regulate gun purchases better, maybe have heavier background checks.”
Just yesterday, a small group of students decided to join in on the national movement, organizing a graphic for social media with details of the event and posting it to Instagram. Within just a few minutes, Hawkins said, the posts “spread like wildfire.”
At the height of Skyview’s protest, as many as 200 students lined up and down each side of Northwest 139th Street, which marks the southern end of the school’s campus. Students led a chant across the street, with one side yelling “Save our-” and the other side responding with “Children,” as well as a moment of silence for the lives lost.
One sign in particular featured the names of each child killed in Tuesday’s shooting, accompanied with information about their personalities and the things they loved to do. Those details, the students said, help remind people that victims in events like these are more than numbers.
A group of a few dozen students continued standing and waving signs throughout the day as other students returned inside for testing and other responsibilities. School administration, they said, had urged them initially to hold the protest in the back of the school campus due to concerns of safety, but student leaders said they felt it would hinder their ability to be seen and heard by the community.
“We are angry, hurt, even scared,” Hawkins said. “But we needed to do something about it. It’s hard, but it’s relieving to know we have a place to express what we’re thinking. We know we’re not alone.”