Billings students participate in nationwide school walkouts - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Billings students participate in nationwide school walkouts

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

It's been one month since a gunman shot 17 students and injured several more at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, FL.

That shooting has started an enormous outcry from students for legislators to take action against school violence.

School walkouts have been taking place since that shooting but Wednesday, students from more than 1,000 schools participated in a nationwide school walk out.

Wednesday's walkout at Billings Senior High School started with just five students but ended with more than one hundred students leaving their classrooms, not to fight to take away guns, but to make changes in school safety.

The community supported the students throughout the walkout despite the student's uncertainty if there would be counter-protestors.

Students chanted, " what do we want what do we want...safe schools safe schools...when do we want them when do we want them...right now right now"

Signs and chants filled the front lawn of Billings Senior High and Billings West High for 17 minutes to honor those lost in the Parkland, FL shooting.

Senior High senior and walk out organizer, Ana Strong Garcia, said, " It was so powerful...because I'm out here today fighting for my right to live at school and to feel safe.
Clara Bentler, Senior High senior and organizer, said, " We've lived with this our whole lives so I don't think they get it, that this is a normal for us and that is in no way appropriate.

Tana Patterson has a daughter at West High and she said she's proud of what the students are doing.

She said, " These students are being proactive. They're taking the issue of violence and gun violence into their own hands because it so affects them."
These students call their generation the "Mass Shooting Generation"  and they said they've had enough.

Patterson said, " They've lived with mass shootings all their lives."
Students also chanted, "No more silence, end gun violence"
Billings West High senior, Nathalie Wagler, said one of the chants was "we are students, we are victims, we are change."

Students are fighting for safer schools and part of that they said is having common sense gun laws.

Patterson said, "These students are realizing so many things like that and they're going to talk about it. "

Garcia said Parkland, FL may be far away but the students of Marjory Douglas aren't so changes must be made.

She said that next step now that they've made themselves heard is to do the work...call, write, follow up, and vote.

Students at both West and Senior High Schools hope their administrators hear them and step up to the plate.

Bentler said, "Now that we are the generation of mass shootings we don't feel safe at school."
Patterson said, "It's time that we truly took this seriously, truly talked about it and did something about it and these young people are leading the way."
Students are asking their peers to write to their legislators and push for safer schools.
The students have also organized a march downtown that will be held from 10 am to noon on Saturday. March 24th.

They say it's open to everyone in the community who wants to take a stand for school safety.  

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