SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah high school students walked out of their classrooms Wednesday to show solidarity with Florida high school students who lost their classmates and staff members in a deadly shooting.
The walkouts come one week after 17 people were killed in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Students at Midvale’s Hillcrest High School passed around a post on social media to alert each other about the 10:00 a.m. school walkout.
“We had a moment of silence for 17 minutes for all the people that died,” said Keelie Bowthorpe, a 10th grader at Hillcrest High School. “It was remembering everyone and feeling what everybody in Florida is feeling right now.”
Bazin Barzanji, a 10th grader, also spoke about the demonstration.
“Every single classroom had at least one person come out of it, and all my friends just knew they needed to come out and they did,” Bazin said. “We just stood in silence for 17 minutes in a group, and it was like I could feel the love and everything, and it was just really nice being around people that you know and love.”
Bazin said she talked to her teacher after the walkout.
“I wanted him to know about it, and he said he wasn’t going to stop us, and he felt it was right that we were doing it because it is for something that deserves to be remembered," Bazin said.
The students at Cottonwood Heights’ Brighton High School had a louder walkout. Outspoken students rallied their group.
“I want to know that if we are not going to make a difference, how many people need to die until we do something about it?” shouted one female student.
“Amen! Amen” Other students responded amid cheers.
“How many people need to get shot where we are supposed to be safe until we make a difference?” she continued.
The students chanted together, showing their support for the students in Florida who traveled to their state capitol in Tallahassee to talk to their lawmakers about changing gun laws to keep them safe.
“Gun reform! Gun reform!” they chanted.
The students from both schools plan to participate in future school walkouts related to gun reform in support of Florida students. The next walkout is scheduled for March 14th, then a nationwide march on March 24th.