KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Students in the Kansas City area and across the country walked out of school Wednesday to protest gun violence, one month after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Raytown High School
More than 700 students walked out of class and gathered on the track of the stadium to rally behind stricter gun control.
Organizers asked those gathered to meet 17 new people, representing the 17 people who lost their lives in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
“It showed that they cared and it shows that they want to see change,” explained Raytown High School senior Iliana Miller, who helped organize the event. “And it shows that they are done with what's going on and that they don't want to be a statistic. It was awesome to see their hearts in this.”
Raytown High School has recently dealt with gun violence. A senior was shot to death last week outside of school. And police arrested a student for making a false threat to do violence at the high school shortly after the deadly shooting in Florida.
“It shows that it can happen here. It shows that it's not just someplace in Florida, that it won't happen to us because we were threatened. That really shook up some of the students,” Miller added.
The school district superintendent hosted meetings after that threat to show students and parents the safety measures the district takes. Miller shared that message Wednesday.
Students who participated in the walkout also signed a poster pledging to curb gun violence.
Raytown South High School
At 10 a.m., hundreds of students left their classrooms and gathered around the football field.
Students wanted to remember the lives of those who died in Florida, their images playing on the field’s screen. They also wanted to raise awareness and urge lawmakers to pass tougher gun laws.
“Parkland was a realization that this was a big problem in the U.S.,” junior Elijah Washington said. “We are at that age where our voices matter, so we want to use the platform as students to shed light on these issues.”
The students chanted the words, “Only love, no hate. We just want to graduate,” as they marched.
"We just want to graduate." Again and again they scream those words. They say they're fed up & stand w/ Parkland victims, urging leaders to "protect kids over guns." @41actionnewspic.twitter.com/K9DSRVx8Gs
Students later told 41 Action News they did not speak to members of the media because they were told they would face consequences. They hope their actions speak louder than words.
School officials with Crossroads Charter released this statement:
“Crossroads High School supports its students who participated in today's walk-out. Our students probably were not expecting to speak to the media, but the school never discouraged them from doing so. On the contrary, we are inspired by their passion and comprehension of complex issues.”