Hundreds of students walked out of classes at a Florida high school on Tuesday morning and were marching nearly 11 miles to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a mass shooting left 17 students and staff members dead last week.
Students from West Boca Raton High School left their classes to protest gun violence and to express solidarity with the school community in Parkland, Florida, that lived through last week’s massacre, according to local reports,
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office initially monitored the students’ march to ensure their safety, a department spokesperson told HuffPost. Deputies with the Broward County Sheriff’s office then met them at the county line as they continued to walk toward Stoneman Douglas high, which remains close following the shooting.
The walkout and march echoed similar protests that students across Florida have staged in the days following the Feb. 14 shooting. The teenagers have used the demonstrations and their Twitter accounts to demand government action on gun control to address what has become an all too regular part of life as an American student.
“We don’t deserve this,” 17-year-old Ianna Seemungal, who participated in a walkout at South Broward High School on Friday, told HuffPost. “We need to be safe. There’s nowhere to be safe. ... We can’t even go to school.”
Students in the Washington, D.C., area created an organization called Teens For Gun Reform in the wake of the Florida shooting and on Monday staged a lie-in in front of the White House to demand changes to gun laws.
There have been 17 school shootings in the U.S. already in 2018, less than two months into the year.
A gunman using a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle staged the attack at Stoneman Douglas. A 19-year-old former student at the school has been charged in the case.
A group of students who survived the shooting have been particularly outspoken in their criticism of President Donald Trump and lawmakers who receive financial contributions from gun lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association.