From Maine to Hawaii, students planned to walk out of school Wednesday to protest gun violence in the biggest demonstration yet of the student activism that has emerged in response to last month's massacre of 17 people at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The snow and a 2-hour delay didn’t stop students in a number of Maine communities from participating in the national walkout.
A unified student body walked out of York High School Wednesday, hoping to make a change.
“When you look at 14 to 19-year-old students you don’t really think a lot of them. You think they’re immature and I’m really hoping that this shows a lot more maturity,” Hayden Osgood, sophomore, York HS, said.
The walkout was organized by a group called Students Advocating for Firearm and Emergency Reform or S.A.F.E.R., which was started by local students after the school shooting in Florida.
“We decided we didn’t want it to end with the walkout. We wanted to keep this dialogue going,” Sophie Blanchard, walkout organizer, said.
Almost every student at the high school listened on as their peers advocated for stricter gun control, hoping it would catch legislators’ attention.
“We don’t want teachers to carry around firearms. I hope they hear we don’t want to walk into school scared,” Blanchard said.
Many described themselves as a generation that’s only known violence in schools.
“Everyone in the building was born after Columbine happened. School shootings have been a part of our education experience,” Karston Rees, senior, York HS, said.
After 17 minutes the students made their way back inside hoping to continue the momentum
“The time for silence is over and the dialogue needs to start now and it starts now with us,” Blanchard said.
Students in Yarmouth also took part in the national school walkout.
The district also had a 2-hour delay because of the snow.
Once students checked in with their home room, they walked outside in front of the school, holding signs and gathering to remember the lives lost in the Florida school shooting.
Students organizing the walkout also read a poem and chanted about making schools safer and ending gun violence across the nation.
“You know it's our lives that are being impacted by it and a lot of the people in power have never felt the type of fear students who are going to school today have to fear and so it's important that we get that message out,” Sage Waterson, senior, Yarmouth high school, said.
“We think it's a start. You have to start somewhere and this is definitely going to get the word out there and hopefully start the movement that will make a change,” Parker, senior, Yarmouth high school, said.
Yarmouth high school’s principal says most of the school's students participated in the walkout.
He says they built in a 20-minute break for students to participate in the walkout or reflect in the library.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.