Local students take part in National Walkout Day

Students from all over the Delaware and Lehigh valleys took part in National Walkout Day in a show of solidarity against gun violence at schools.

The students were calling for Congress to pass tighter federal gun laws. The walkout Wednesday morning was planned for exactly one month after the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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Philadelphia students participate in National School Walkout: John Rawlins reports on Action News at 4 p.m., March 14, 2018

The protest, organized by the same group behind the Women's March, called for students, teachers, parents and school administrators to walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. local time across the country.
Most of the walkouts lasted for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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Students hold walkout in Philadelphia. John Rawlins reports during Action News at Noon on March 14, 2018.

At Dobbins High School in Philadelphia, students were joined by adults, including their principal and City Council President Darrell Clarke.

"You're standing up to stop gun violence. We really appreciate you showing support for the students at Parkland, students all over the country," Clarke said.

The Dobbins' walkout was planned for 18 minutes - 17 for the Parkland victims, plus a minute for a 17-year-old shot inside her class room just last week in Alabama.

While the Dobbins students went back to class, others from multiple schools across the city walked out and met up at the school district building for a program organized by the Philadelphia Student Union. They then made their way to City Hall.

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Philadelphia students rally at City Hall aginst gun violence on March 14, 2018.

In Delaware County, Interboro High School students were one of the many groups in the area who walked out of their classrooms.

In Montgomery County, hundreds of students at Lower Merion High School left their classes in a staged walkout joining over 3,000 schools across the country and around the world.

Junior Ryan Kleiner's two friends attend Stoneman Douglas and were among the injured.

"I think about not only them but everyone who lost their life and were injured at all," Kleiner said.

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Lower Merion High students take part in walkout. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 12:30 p.m. on March 14, 2018.

Other schools in the region discouraged students from making the issue a political one, but Lower Merion School Superintendent Robert Copeland had a different approach.

"Their speech is their speech. I'm a child of the 60s and 70s, we had our time to make speech, make a stamp on society, and these kids have the right to do the same thing," Copeland said.

Parkland students have faced criticism by some lawmakers who say children should not engage in debate about gun control. Students gave their response.

"If we shouldn't be speaking on it then they should have done something about it long ago," junior Jackson Braunfield said.

After the walkout, students gathered to learn how to send letters to their representatives and, those who are eligible, registered to vote.

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Local students prepare for national school walkout: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., March 13, 2018

Upper and middle school students at Malvern Prep carried a large cross as they walked out of their classrooms.

They opted for a memorial walk and chapel service as they participated in the nationwide school walkout. The students remembered and prayed for all victims of school violence during the service.

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Local students hold walkout at Malvern Prep and Renaissance Academy Charter School. Rick Williams reports during Action News at Noon on March 14, 2018.

At Centreville Layton School in Centreville, Delaware, students led a discussion and planted a tree to symbolize hope.

Students at Cab Calloway School of the Arts and The Charter School of Wilmington walked out and gathered on the school's football field. In the bleachers, students stood with posters to share their message and also pictures of the victims who were killed in the school shooting.

At Chester High School, students who took part in the national walkout gathered to give speeches about the concern for their safety and the need for changes to our gun control laws. They held posters and listened to their peers talk about the movement.

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Local students walk out at Cab Calloway School of the Arts and The Charter School of Wilmington, and Chester High School. Sarah Bloomquist reports during Action News at 12:30 p.m.

In Phoenxville, Chopper 6 showed the walkout at Renaissance Academy Charter School.

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Renaissance Academy Charter School walkout against gun violence on March 14, 2018.

Members of the student councils at Abington Senior and Junior High Schools worked together to produce a video called "Rise Up, Abington." It is for a campaign that will encourage students to educate themselves and become civically engaged.

Garnet Valley Schools in Glen Mills, Delaware County planned to take the day of action a step further, by recognizing the 232 lives lost in the school shootings since the Columbine massacre.

"Bookbags were donated. Students will have an opportunity to lay flowers on those book bags, they'll be wearing white voluntarily to represent life," said Marc Bertrando, Superintendent of Garnet Valley.

Meanwhile, Council Rock sent a letter to parents saying it views Wednesday as a class day, not a school walk out, and any student who opts to walk out of school will face disciplinary consequences.

The district says students who participate in a timed, class walkout will not be disciplined.

"Basically they're saying it's OK to put your head in the sand and stay home tomorrow, and that will be excused, but they can't speak up about something that is really affecting them," said one Council Rock student who did not want to be named.

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Gray Hall reports during the Action News Update at 10 a.m. on March 14, 2018.

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