Students across C.I. walk out of class to protest gun violence

DUNLAP, Il. - Students across central Illinois are raising their voices against violence, joining forces Wednesday in a unified protest to say enough is enough.

“We shouldn't be afraid to go to school,” said Parkview Jr. High student Morgan Tipton.

Thousands of students across the nation walked out of their classrooms at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning for 17 minutes. One for each of the parkland shooting victims killed one month ago.

Youth activists in the area say the goal is not only to honor those they lost, but to keep national attention on gun violence.

“Our voice matters, what we say matters, we are the future,” said Ayay Aldadah, Dunlap senior. She adds, “I think we get a bit desensitized, we think ‘oh this will never happen to us’, and I wanted to address the student body that this could really happen anywhere and at anytime.”

Aldadah who organized her school's protest, appreciates her classmates standing up for what they believe in.

“This walkout is only the beginning, our goal is to get more people from the community to offer support to one another,” Aldadah added.

From the Twin Cities to Creve Coeur, several local school administrators are proud of their students.

“I’m pleased with our students, through the proposal that they have demonstrated characteristics of being a good citizen and communication of something positive,” said Steve Johnson principal of Parkview Jr. High.

Dunlap Principal Scott Adreon says he is impressed with his senior class.

“It’s nice for people to step forward with a voice in a positive way.” Alderon adds, “I think that's part of the educational piece, showing them a way that they can get their message across peacefully.”

Nikolas Cruz, the man accused in last month's massacre in Florida, was in court Wednesday afternoon. His attorney told the judge that the teen had declined to enter a plea, the judge responded by entering a not guilty plea on Cruz's behalf. Prosecutors announced Tuesday they will seek the death penalty. Cruz is due back in court April 11th.

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