Students begin school walkouts on Columbine anniversary


By The Associated Press

Students from Florida to Chicago started streaming out of their schools Friday in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

The protests were chosen to line up with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, which left 13 people dead in Littleton, Colorado. At 10 a.m. in each time zone, students at dozens of schools left class to take moments of silence honoring the victims at Columbine and other shootings.

From there, some students headed to rallies at their statehouses. Others stayed at school to discuss gun violence. Some are holding voting registration drives.

Hundreds of Washington-area students gathered at a park near the White House, taking 19 minutes of silence for each year that has passed since the Columbine massacre. In New York City, crowds of students gathered in Washington Square Park and lay down in a “die-in.”

Organizers say there will be walkouts in every state, with more than 2,700 registered on the event’s website . Citywide protests are expected to attract thousands in New York City and Austin, Texas. Police in Richmond, Virginia, say they expect at least 10,000 at the state Capitol.

Shortly before the walkouts, another school shooting in Florida left one student injured. Authorities say one student shot another in the ankle at Forest High School in Ocala. A suspect was taken into custody.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman killed 17 on Feb. 14, student David Hogg said the latest shooting underscored the urgency of the protests.

“We have to stop this. We’re not going to be able to stop this unless we continue to make our voices heard, though, when our elected officials won’t,” Hogg said on a video posted to social media. “We have to get out there and make our voices heard, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans.”

Hogg was among about 50 students who walked out of Stoneman Douglas after administrators threatened protesters with unexcused absences.

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