Local students to protest gun violence on National Walkout Day

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Friday marks the 19th anniversary of a mass shooting at Columbine High School.

Many students across the United States don't think things have changed much since that day, and teens across the country, including the Mid-South, said they will take a stand by taking a walk.

While some local students chose to participate Thursday, so they would not conflict with the Columbine shooting anniversary, Friday marks National Walkout Day.

Schools with students who walked out Thursday will instead observe a day of peace Friday.

One student from Cordova High School said Thursday that they hope to affect lasting change with their demonstration.

"This protest is being led by students, and sometimes things don't get changed by the adults and maybe if the students get involved, the younger generation gets involved, maybe we'll actually see a change," Cordova High student Jayden Gilliam said.

Nationwide, 2,100 schools are expected to participate in the walkout.

Sea Isle Elementary is getting involved by wearing white and honoring emergency workers by bringing them treats.

Friday at 10 a.m., the doors opened as students of St. Agnes Academy walked out of class and onto their front lawn for National Walkout Day.

"The March for Our Lives is not just a march or a walkout, this is a movement," student Lily Davis said.

Each St. Agnes student wrote down their personal reason for joining with students across the country.

"The voices of students all across America are unified at this moment," student Talia Shadroui said.

Davis was one of the student speakers and shared her experience attending the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C.

"We deserve to not have fear that a weapon that was designed to kill in warfare will enter our schools, concerts,, or churches," Davis said.

St. Agnes wasn't the only local school that participated. Students at St. Benedict High School gathered in their gym for an event they called a "send out."

On the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, 13 students honored and represented the 13 victims of that tragedy.

"We are trying to make the community better and try to stand for every person's human right," said student Alexa Pangonas.

These local students represent part of a national awakening, young people fighting for change they believe needs to happen.

"It's time for change," said student Veronica Thompson said. "If you can go out and vote, make a difference. And if you can't, then continue using your voice to make a difference."

"If someone tried to silence you, speak louder, if someone isn't listening, speak louder," said student Angle Lay.

Three Collierville schools also participated in the walkout--Collierville High, Collierville Middle, and Schilling Farms Middle.

Collierville school officials said 740 out of 4,634 students combined at all three schools, or approximately 16 percent, participated in the walkout Friday.

A dozen or so of those students held flags and signs to support preserving or expanding gun owner's rights.

Collierville Schools' Chief of Staff Jeff Jones said it was not a counter-protest, and students on both sides of the issue shared the same space.

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