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Students Stage Walkout to Protest Gun Violence

Poinciana+students+protested+gun+violence+one+week+after+17+students+lost+their+life+in+a+mass+school+shooting+in+South+Florida.+
Poinciana students protested gun violence one week after 17 students lost their life in a mass school shooting in South Florida.

Poinciana students protested gun violence one week after 17 students lost their life in a mass school shooting in South Florida.

Zamaiya Marquez

Zamaiya Marquez

Poinciana students protested gun violence one week after 17 students lost their life in a mass school shooting in South Florida.

Adriana Santiago and Zachary Prados

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Student protests emerged across the nation Wednesday – including at several high schools in Osceola County – to advocate for stricter gun laws after a mass school shooting earlier this month in South Florida.

Hundreds of high school students throughout the district walked out of their fourth period classes.

At Poinciana, more than 100 students descended on the school’s courtyard, where some protestors held signs and led the crowd in chants.

Protests also took place at the following high schools: Liberty, Osceola, Harmony, Celebration, Gateway and Osceola County School for the Arts.

District Superintendent Debra Pace advised teachers to allow students to leave class for the protests.

“Discipline is not appropriate,” Pace said in the email sent districtwide.

Word of the 10 a.m. protest spread quickly through social media.

While the protests were taking place throughout high schools in Osceola County, about 100 survivors of the shooting in South Florida traveled to Tallahassee to march on Florida’s Capitol and meet with lawmakers.

Students could be seen kneeling and at other times sitting in a large circle and engaging in moments of silence throughout the protest, which ran several hours.

Freshman Arianna Carazo carried a large sign that read, “Guns shouldn’t be above people’s lives.”

“I am out here today because I don’t want to die,” Carazo said.

Poinciana principal Jeff Schwartz attended the mid-morning protest.

“I’m all for students lifting their voice in protest as long as it’s done safely and appropriately,” he said. “Our greatest strength is our voice.”

Other protests are planned in the months ahead, including a “March For Our Lives” rally on March 24 in Washington D.C.

Senior Jason Rodriguez along with half of his class walked out of their AP literature class to join the protests.

“We are only one ripple, but with many other ripples we can make a wave,” Rodriguez said. “We want our kids and our grandkids to live a safe life and to not have to worry if they will get shot at their school.”

Evannylise Martinez and Zamaiya Marquez contributed to this report.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Students Stage Walkout to Protest Gun Violence”

  1. Michael Zahn on March 14th, 2018 7:05 PM

    Proud of these students.

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Students Stage Walkout to Protest Gun Violence