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Students walk out nationwide protesting gun violence

Issued: 2018-03-14

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2018, file photo, Somerville High School students sit on the sidewalk on Highland Avenue during a student walkout at the school in Somerville, Mass. A large-scale, coordinated demonstration is planned for Wednesday, March 14, when organizers have called for a 17-minute school walkout nationwide to protest gun violence. (Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via AP, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2017, file photo, Aztec High School students and area residents gather for a candlelight vigil in Aztec, N.M., after a shooting at the high school. While students across the country plan walkouts to protest gun violence, teens at the New Mexico high school still reeling after two classmates were gunned down in December by an armed intruder have organized a "walk-up" to help unify a campus with varied ideas on school safety. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2017, file photo, a sign encourages prayer outside an ice cream shop in Aztec, N.M., following a shooting at Aztec High School in which two classmates were killed before the gunman killed himself. While students across the country plan walkouts to protest gun violence, teens at the New Mexico high school still reeling after two classmates were gunned down in December by an armed intruder have organized a "walk-up" to help unify a campus with varied ideas on school safety.(AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

A handful of people gathered on the Statehouse lawn in Montpelier, Vt., to protest gun violence as a crowd of sportsmen and gun-rights supporters held an event inside on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday that the debate in the Legislature about restrictions on gun ownership would resume now that lawmakers have returned from their weeklong, mid-session break. (April Burbank/The Burlington Free Press via AP)

7000 pairs of shoes, one for every child killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook school shooting, were placed on the Capitol lawn by Avaaz, a U.S.-based civic organization, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, center, hugs Kyle Kashuv, 16, and Patrick Petty, 17, both from Parkland, Fla., following a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. On the far left is Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Hatch is the lead sponsor of the school safety bill, aiming to replicate the success of a program in his home state of Utah. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Students, aged 17 & 18, pose for photographs with a banner outside the front of the American School in London, after taking part in a 10am local-time, 17-minute walkout in the school playground, which was attended by approximately 300 students aged 14-18, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. From Maine to Hawaii, students planned to walk out of school Wednesday to protest gun violence in the biggest demonstration yet of the student activism that has emerged in response to last month's massacre of 17 people at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

One month after the Feb. 14 mass shooting that left 17 staff and students dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida, students across the country are planning a youth-led school walkout to protest gun violence and demand action from lawmakers. (March 13)

Thousands of empty pairs of shoes were lined up in front of the Capitol building on Tuesday morning by activists to represent children killed by gun violence in the United States since the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. (March 13)

One month after the Feb. 14 mass shooting that left 17 staff and students dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida, students across the country are planning a youth-led school walkout to protest gun violence and demand action from lawmakers. (March 13)

From Maine to Hawaii, students planned to walk out of school Wednesday to protest gun violence in the biggest demonstration yet of the student activism that has emerged in response to last month's massacre of 17 people at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In nearly 3,000 protests nationwide, students from the elementary to college level are taking up the call in a variety of ways. Some planned roadside rallies to honor shooting victims and protest violence. Others were to hold demonstrations in school gyms or on football fields. In Massachusetts and Georgia and Ohio, students said they'll head to the statehouse to lobby for new gun regulations.

The coordinated walkouts were loosely organized by Empower, the youth wing of the Women's March, which brought thousands to Washington, D.C., last year. The group urged students to leave class at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes — one minute for each victim in the Florida shooting -- and suggested demands for lawmakers, including an assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun sales.

"Our elected officials must do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to this violence," the group said on its website.

One month after the Feb. 14 mass shooting that left 17 staff and students dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida, students across the country are planning a youth-led school walkout to protest gun violence and demand action from lawmakers. (March 13)

But each community was urged to shape its own protests, and while parents and teachers in many districts worked together to organize age-appropriate activities, school administrators had mixed reactions. Some have applauded students for taking a stand, while others threatened discipline.

Districts in Sayreville, New Jersey, and Maryland's Harford County drew criticism this week when they said students could face punishment for leaving class. In Pensacola, Florida, Superintendent Malcolm Thomas ordered up an in-school assembly instead. He warned students that they could discuss voting and mental health issues, but not guns, and saying that political banners would not be allowed.

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