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Wednesday walk-out included local students

Hiawatha High School students Wednesday morning, March 14, gathered for silent reflection, and a balloon release, to remember the victims of last month's school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

(KAIR)--Students across the nation joined together in protest Wednesday, calling for gun control measures on the one month anniversary of the deadly Parkland School Shooting.

The protests were intended to last 17-minutes in remembrance of the 17 students killed.

Joining what the Associated Press calls “tens of thousands of young people in communities big and small,” were students from across the local region.

That included high school students from such local counties as Atchison and Brown.

In Hiawatha, two members of the Student Council--senior Martina Bourland and freshman Raven Stroud--planned the event.  "It's too common today," Borlund said, in regards to school shootings. "I think that, as a school, you should feel safe and at home, and right now I don't think many students feel this way.”

Stroud, saying she feels much has been done in Hiawatha to prevent school violence, said she took part in the protest to remember the school shooting victims. "I did it because of the 17 in Florida. Some [students] might have done it for the 2nd Amendment, but I did it because of the lives that were lost."

More than 115 students took part in the event at Hiawatha High School.

Students in Atchison also took part, and High School Principal Brian Hanson told MSC News the school worked with them to provide a safe protest. "We had a group of students that approached me last week, asking about the national walk-out day. As a school, we were not openly promoting it, but we also wanted to make sure we had a safe, organized environment for the kids to express themselves. The kids actually organized it, we provided a place for them to spend that 17-minutes outside of school. When the 17-minutes were up, our kids all came back inside."

USD 377 Superintendent Andrew Gaddis confirmed that “a small number of students” from the Atchison County Community Schools did “request to participate in the nationally organized Walk-out.”

In an email to MSC News, Gaddis said the schools complied with the requests and “used it as an opportunity to teach our students how to appropriately conduct and participate in a demonstration,” adding that the students remained on school property and received supervision.

MSC News also confirmed that among other local students that took part were some from Nemaha Central High School.

The Associated Press reports the coordinated walkouts were organized by Empower, the youth wing of the Women's March, which brought thousands to Washington last year. It offered the students a list of demands for lawmakers, including a ban on assault weapons and mandatory background checks for all gun sales.

The organizers are seeking to keep up the pressure for stricter gun laws despite resistance from the White House and little action over the years on Capitol Hill.

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