PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, joined by hundreds of thousands of fellow students nationwide, took part in a walkout Wednesday to mark the one month anniversary of the school massacre that claimed 17 lives.
“This is something that will never be forgotten and that every moment counts no matter what you’re doing,” said Stoneman Douglas High student Alasia Bennet.
“We saw Sandy Hook, we saw Columbine, but no one would ever think it was us, but now that it was us, we’re all making a change, we’re all talking, I have friends who live in New Jersey and New York and they’re all walking out of schools,” said Rachel Taylor.
“Before this all happened to us, I would watch this type of stuff of television and it was heartbreaking,” said Kaelin Small, “You just don’t think it’s realistic until it happens to you until it does and it’s so unreal.”
Wednesday’s walkouts were not only in memory of the 14 students and three teachers who died in the massacre but also a symbolic cry for national gun control.
“I want there to be stricter gun control laws and psych tests, background checks, because you never know what a person may be going through or what they could do in the future with that gun,” said Stoneman Douglas High student Alexandria Anglade.
At Stoneman Douglas High, nearly the entire student body, some three thousand strong, left their classes and walked to the grounds where they observed 17 minutes of silence, one minute for each life lost.
It didn’t end with the “on campus” protest. Students then marched a mile and a half to Pine Trails Park, where a makeshift memorial has formed in honor of those who died.
“We are here as a family because we want something in common and it is change,” said Stoneman Douglas High student Sheryl Acquarola.
“Please get involved in any way, shape, or form. We have the power, we have the voice right now and we will use it in this moment and from now on and it will not stop. It’s been a month and it has not stopped,” said student Lorena Sanabria.
Students rallied as they remembered the fallen, making sure they sent a very loud, very clear signal.
“We’re not just kids anymore because we looked down the barrel of a gun. We’re not kids anymore because our friends and our teacher and our coaches died,” said Acquarola.
Marina Benito, whose daughter lost friends and a teacher in the Stoneman Douglas massacre, went to the school Wednesday as a show of support. She said a month after the shooting, her daughter is still struggling with what happened.
“I think even if it passes a year it’s going to be too soon,” she said.
Hundreds of middle school kids from neighboring West Glades Middle also marched to the memorial, ready to do their part to make change.
“When people think of Parkand they will think of the 17 lives that we lost, but they will also think of what came after and how all these high schoolers and parents and middle schoolers are standing up for what is right and not taking ‘no’ for an answer anymore,” said West Glades Middle student Morgan Laidler.
The deadly shooting sparked debate and movement when it came to school safety and gun laws.
Last week, Florida passed laws allowing schools districts to arm school staff.
While most school boards, including Miami-Dade and Broward, are not interested, the measure is now in a federal proposal put out by President Donald Trump.
The plan calls for “rigorous” firearm training for some teachers, Congress to provide legislation to make background checks more effective and more mental health resources.
The president has since pulled back on previous comments about raising the minimum age nationwide from 18 to 21 to buy an assault rifle.
The White House admitted Monday they don’t have support in Congress.