Utah students discuss their reasons for walking out in solidarity with Parkland survivors

Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-14 19:51:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Enough is enough. That's the message behind the nationwide walkout that thousands of Utah students participated in.

With the motto emblazoned on their chests, thousands of students at Highland High School and Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts walked out of their classrooms when the clock struck 10 Wednesday morning.

Ermiya Fanaeian, a senior at Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts, organized the peaceful protest.

"I'm tired of schools being the new American battleground," Fanaeian said. "We must protect these students. Every student who walked out with us today could be a victim and could be another name on a list."

Marking one month since the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, these students joined the nationwide protest that lasted roughly 17 minutes for the 17 lives lost.

Freshmen Kai Schwemmer and Evelyn Gutierez joined thousands of students, standing hand in hand, outlining the perimeter of Highland's football field.

"I came out here to show my respect to the 17 kids that lost their lives because that’s a tragic event," Schwemmer said.

"See, like, they’re holding hands: I think it's very inspiring," Gutierez said.

The students had the support of their teachers and their principal, Chris Jenson.

"I'm proud of all of our students," Jenson said. "We had most of them walk out onto the field. We had several that stayed in classrooms but most walked out on the field. It was very peaceful."

Junior Analicia Dominguez said she wants politicians to pay attention.

"We’re sick and tired of the way government is treating us just because were kids," Dominguez said.

These students say they're planning to vote and they have some demands.

"I feel like we need to be making calculated change instead of speaking from emotion; I do feel like we have to have tighter gun legislation," Schwemmer said.

With admiration, they stood in solidarity with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

"Thank you resilient, strong, brave youth out in Parkland for starting this movement, expediting change," Fanaeian said. "You are our voices. We’re voices across the nation that have started this momentum and we won’t be stopped."

Letting the world know, this youth movement is united.

There are roughly 1,600 students at Highland High School and 280 at Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts. Principal Jenson says the vast majority walked out on Wednesday.

The students say they plan on walking out again on April 20, which is the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.