MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of students across Minnesota and the United States put down their books and walked out of school Wednesday.
The nationwide protest called for revised gun-control measures.
Students gathered outside the White House in Washington D.C., turned their backs to the building, and then sat in silence.
Elementary school students in Portland, Oregon formed a peace sign.
From students silently lying down in Duluth, to a rally in Mankato, walkouts were held all over the state.
Grade-school students at Lucy Laney Community School in Minneapolis stood together, holding hands. It was a powerful show of force by young people across the nation and Minnesota.
Overall, only a small percentage of schools participated in the national walkout, but a list of schools in Minnesota supported students’ participation.
It was business as usual Wednesday at Plymouth’s Armstrong High School, with school testing week inside. But as the clock struck 10 a.m., students poured out for a recess with a purpose.
“We made some adjustments but we were happy to accommodate the need that we felt existed to have students express themselves in this way,” Principal David Dahl said.
One by one, the students read the names of the victims in the Parkland school shooting; names students who will never graduate, and teachers who will never grow old.
Nakayla Shinder told WCCO she wants to be an advocate.
“I might not be living in Florida, but I’m still standing with those students,” Shinder said.
And on Wednesday she did. Shinder and her friend Seione Kimbrough helped organize a 17-minute tribute for the 17 victims. It was a moment that brought loud teenagers to complete reverence.
Rocori High School also held a rally, which was extra personal for the Cold Spring school that lost two students to a school shooting in 2003.
Students at Lucy Laney released lanterns in honor of the victims.
And this is not the end of these rallies. The “March for Our Lives” protest is planned for Saturday, March 24. Several groups from Minnesota are attending. Some satellite marches are also planned in other cities and even overseas.
And another group is calling for a national observance on April 20 — the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
St. Louis Park High School, Stillwater High School and Lakeville South also had crowds at their rallies.