UTICA, NY-- Students from about 2,800 schools are getting up from behind their desk and walking out of their classrooms, including local students as a part of National Walkout Day.
Some students marched in the cold, others gathered for an assembly, and some held group discussions. But they all came together for one common message, to end school violence. The movement is a national effort to show solidarity for the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, exactly one month ago.
"This is a really serious issue and that if we don't do anything about it then we can't reasonably expect anything to change," said Ken Talarico, a student and organizer of the memorial prayer service Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School.
The entire student body at Notre Dame marched to Our Lady of the Rosary Church, across the street from the school for a memorial prayer service. Some students even held pictures of the victims of Florida shooting.
"You don't really realize what's happening until it really hits home," said Hanna DeStefano, a senior and organizer of the service at Notre Dame. "But I think talking about it in schools more, having more things like this, taking more action with the whole student body... would help [students] to be more sensitized to it so they can realize this can happen anywhere."
Students at Sauquoit Valley and Richfield Springs Central High Schools both took time to remember the victims and the survivors. Students from both schools spent 17 minutes talking to each other--one minute for each of the victims killed in the Florida school shooting.
At Thomas R. Proctor High School students held posters, wore orange and shared messages demanding change.
"I think like many other students, it angers us and makes us feel afraid," said Maggie Parker, a sophomore at Proctor. "It's an issue that I've been passionate about since it's been in the news and I think I'm not alone here. It's a serious issue and I think that many of us now following the Parkland students are rising up and doing what we can to take action."