Central Texas students participate in National School Walkout Da - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Central Texas students participate in National School Walkout Day

The event is part of a national movement. (Source: KXXV) The event is part of a national movement. (Source: KXXV)
Source: KXXV Source: KXXV

Central Texas high school students participated in a 17-minute walk out to honor the victims of the Florida school shooting and to push for gun reform.

The demonstration is part of National School Walkout Day, during which students across the country protested gun violence.

On Wednesday, after an announcement was made over the intercom, almost 400 students from Midway High School walked out of the classrooms and met at the flag poles in front of the school at 10 a.m.  More than 2,000 remained in the classroom taking a campus safety survey.

Midway High School sophomore Katie Fraley who was part of the committee organizing the event said she was happy with the turnout.

"It was overwhelming, exhilarating and exciting and it made my heart happy that that many people cared about the same cause that we did," Fraley said.

Midway Independent School District said students participating won't be sanctioned.

Midway High School Principal Alison Smith who said students have the right to protest outside of school hours said punishing the students would have made it an adversarial situation as opposed to a peaceful movement.

"Students would have done it anyway and I think that our students had a good voice to be heard and they did it in a constructive way and I know that not everybody agrees with not punishing them for doing that but our students are our future and part of our job is to teach them to be young productive citizens," Smith said.

She added students didn't miss instructional time because it happened during the time frame when students hear announcements.

During the walkout, students honored the victims and those old enough to vote contacted lawmakers.

"We are not going to rest until we reach this bright horizon of a brighter future where our lives are valued, our voices are heard and our safety is not just offered, it's guaranteed," Fraley said.

Dozens of students at Connally High School also took part in the walkout, holding hands outside the campus and honoring the victims.

The mother of one of the organizers Angel Ferrales said she supported her daughter while she planned the event.

"I think it's great that the kids want to want their voices to be heard. I think it's great that they're willing to stand up for what they believe in," Deenece Ferrales said.

At both Midway and Connally, officers remained near students as the event unfolded.

At Waco ISD, middle schools and high schools had an activity related the one month anniversary of the Florida school shooting. 

There were several student-organized walkouts that dozens of students took a part of on Wednesday. Those students will not be punished for their participation.

  • Lake Air Montessori Magnet School - 23 students participated
  • Cesar Chavez Middle School - about 150 students participated
  • Indian Spring Middle School - about 10 students participated
  • Tennyson Middle School - about 350 students participated
  • University High School - about 200 students participated
  • Waco High School - 400 to 500 students participated

Reicher High School in Waco planned a memorial to honor the victims, which occurred at 11:30 a.m.

During the event, students walked around the track while a student read the names of the victims. At the same time, 17 staff members and students held individual pictures of the victims.

Student Harris Siddiq said the purpose of the event wasn't to advocate for gun control but for school safety.

"In a way it's a walkout yes. We are not just for gun control. We are not here for gun control, we are not here just to pray for them as well. We are here for both sides. We want change one way or another whatever the type of change is, we want change whether it would be teachers with guns. If that stops these school shootings, I'm more than happy for that to happen,"  Siddiq said.

In the future, Reicher students plan to write to their senators as part of their history class.

Students at Midway High School also have ideas on ways they can encourage change in the future, including developing programs that allow students who are lonely feel included.

"This has a deeper purpose than missing class," Fraley said."This is something we want to do to make a difference moving forward and we know it won't be immediate but we are getting the conversation started."

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