Students in south Warren County and Owensboro were among young people nationwide who walked out of classrooms Wednesday to honor the 17 students and educators shot to death in Parkland, Florida and to push for safer schools.
Set among peaceful fields with bales of hay and grazing cows, South Warren High School is the picture of a safe place for students. But school shooters at campuses across the country have put students on edge.
The fatal shooting of 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last month and the killing of two students and injuries to more than a dozen others at Marshall County High School in Kentucky in January have left students rattled.
Jensyn McCloud is one about 100 students who walked out of South Warren High School. She said the violence is getting to her.
“Yeah, I worry about it in every single class. Every single class I go to I think about how am I going to get out if there’s an active shooter situation. I felt like that for a while but now it’s like amplified with all the shootings that have happened.”
Eighteen-year-old Brielle Freeman also said it was important to her to take the 17 minutes and walk out of South Warren High School.
“I’ve really been emotionally touched by the deaths that have occurred because of gun violence in schools. I believe that people should not be fearful of going to school. They’re here to learn, not to lose our life.”
At the Innovation Academy in Owensboro about three-quarters of the students walked out to take part in a memorial for the 17 dead in Florida. Fifteen-year-old Aaron Girten said students created a board that will serve as a reminder.
"We created a ‘What Is Your 17?' board. Students wrote down a thing they can do to 17 new people, whether it’s shaking hands, saying hello, high-5s or talking to new people. We posted it on our board that has a big 17 in the middle, so we all can look at the every day and try to make the school a better place.”
Students at schools across Kentucky said they’ll keep up the pressure for stricter guns laws and safer schools.