Many students carried posters as they marched along Elder and Santa Cruz avenues before returning to the school quad to share their thoughts, read out the names of the Parkland victims and spend a moment in silence.
Among the student speakers was Chiara, who 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."
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.
"We may not be able to vote for the future of our country, but we are the future of our country," Lila said. "All of us being here shows how much change is needed and wanted; we will enact and empower that change."
As the bells at the Woodside Village Church rang to mark 10 a.m., students at Woodside Elementary School streamed out of the classrooms and across a soccer field toward the school's outdoor amphitheater.
Student council leaders read the names of the 17 Parkland victims and asked for a moment of silence before inviting others to share their thoughts.
Dozens filed up to the amphitheater stage as gray skies threatened to further dampen the solemn event, and one by one made short statements. "These kids were just like all of us," said one student.
"Imagine what they were going through, imagine what they were thinking," said another.
"What happened that day was very tragic," one student said. "I'm really hoping that it never happens here, and it never happens again."
At La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park, students wishing to do so walked out of class at 10 a.m., Las Lomitas Superintendent Lisa Cesario said. "It was a peaceful, age-appropriate protest led by student leadership," she said.
After a student read a statement, the group observed a moment of silence before returning to class, she said.
Corte Madera Middle School Principal Cyndi Maijala said "a small, dedicated group of eighth-graders" organized an event at the Portola Valley school. About half of the sixth- to eighth-graders quietly walked out and joined their peers on the blacktop, while other students chose to stay inside and quietly work and reflect in a personal way, she said.
Some fourth- and fifth-grade students also participated, but most stayed in their homerooms for a lesson on empathy.
During the 17-minute event several students spoke, there was a moment of silence, and the names of the people whose lives were lost were read aloud before the students quietly walked back to class.
"Remarkable to me was the level of respect and attention focused by all students. It is a rare experience to hear such profound silence on a middle school campus," Ms. Maijala said.
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