Nearly 600 students from Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park took part in a protest against gun violence today (March 14) as part of the nationwide student protest sparked by the school shootings in Parkland, Florida.
Principal Willy Haug said the eighth-grade Associated Student Body student government students created a "Walkout Committee" to plan the event.
Their focus was gun violence, with their rallying cry, "No More Silence, End Gun Violence," he said.
The students organized several lunchtime poster-making activities ahead of Wednesday's walkout.
Students who wanted to take part walked out to the athletic field to the Elder Avenue sidewalk and then along Santa Cruz Avenue before returning to the school's quad.
Mr. Haug said "cars honked their support and parents and siblings watched from across the street."
Back at school students shared their thoughts in the form of a poem and an editorial, and then the student government students read a group speech.
They then read out the names of the Parkland victims and called for a moment of silence.
On their way to class, students signed a banner in support of Parkland.
Here's some of what the Hillview student government students had to say, supplied to The Almanac in an email:
Chiara said that in addition to honoring the 17 innocent lives that were taken on Feb. 14, the students were also there "because we care about common-sense gun laws. We are the next generation of voters and we will make a change," she said.
Rachel said the students "want our legislators to do their part in making laws that make it necessary to have background checks, and limit the availability of assault weapons."
Jenna said: "We need to tell our politicians not to make laws because the NRA gives them money, but to make laws to keep us safe! In the past five years, 7,000 children have been killed by guns in the U.S. alone. This is way too many times," she said.
Sohrab said that the students want "to show that even though we are young, and some may even say that we cannot make much of a difference, we can. As a matter of fact, history shows that real change comes through young people."
Rebecca said: "We can show the government, the families in Florida, the whole nation that if we unite together change can and will be made. The families in Florida took time to speak up instead of grieving for their losses. So we have no excuse as to why we aren’t doing the same."
Katelyn said students "need to show adults that we are not going to let them make the decisions for our future without our voices being heard and that we want to see change in our nation."
"We want to get rid of gun violence so we can feel safe in our schools, and when we grow up we want to know that when we send our kids to school that we don’t have to think twice about whether or not they will come back home."
Lila said: "We may not be able to vote for the future of our country, but we are the future of our country."
"All of us being here shows how much change is needed and wanted; we will enact and empower that change," she said.
Lute read from a poem she had written, including the following lines:
"I wanna make sure that future generations come to school safe and sound
Coming home with no gun shot wounds all around
And is it not enough to say that 1 person lies dead in a grave??
People’s lives should change once they learned that 17 people are dead in the grave.
And hurts me to say that there will be 17 funerals, 17 caskets, and 17 families (whose) loved ones
passed and never got to finish their homework packets."
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