Thousands of high school students across the United States walked out of class at 10 a.m. Friday, demanding safer gun laws in response to several school shootings nationwide. They walked out on the 19th anniversary of the deadly Columbine school massacre in Colorado.
About 250 students at John H. Guyer High School participated in the walkout. They moved to the gym, where several students expressed their thoughts about gun violence and school safety.
"It's affecting us," said Zoe Neale, a senior and one of the walkout organizers. "It's happening here, now, in our schools."
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The school did not allow media into the gym but did allow NBC 5 and others into the school to speak with students. Organizers said they don't wish to ban guns — just make gun violence harder to commit.
"We feel like something more needs to be done," said Lauren Moore, a sophomore. "Especially with gun violence and the accessibility of guns that we have."
Not all students agreed with the walkout or its message. Some students heckled speakers or booed them. A Denton Independent School District spokesman called the disagreements "civil" and said the event went off without a hitch.
"There were people over there pounding and trying to discourage us," said Trinity Trout, a junior. "It was cute, but it didn't work."
Students say they generally feel safe in their school. But with every school shooting comes fear.
"Congress has ignored it for too long," said Caleb Brock, a junior. "The youth are not going to sit back any more and wait for them to watch us get killed."
Last month, students who organized the Guyer walkout started a petition, asking that students not be punished for taking part. The school worked with those students to make Friday's indoor event happen.
Many involved in the walkout aren't yet old enough to vote. They want lawmakers to know they will be — soon enough.
"We are a united front on this," said Moore. "We are going to make a difference and make a change."