jeffco schools

Jeffco students participate in national walkout protest

Photos and reporting by Shanna Fortier and Clarke Reader
sfortier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Creader@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/14/18

Students across Jefferson County headed out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. on March 14, as part of a national protest against gun violence in schools.

Students participated in the protest in at …

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jeffco schools

Jeffco students participate in national walkout protest

Posted

Students from Arvada West High School walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14 and made their way to an athletic field where they stood in the formation of a heart to show support for the students killed last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

The event was one of almost 2,000 happening nationwide as part of the #Enough National School Walkout to End Gun Violence organized by Women's March Youth calling for students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep people safe from gun violence at schools, on streets and in homes and places of worship. Students across Jefferson County participated. At least nine district high schools had student-organized walkouts, including Columbine which was the site of a 1999 school shooting that left 12 victims dead.

MORE: Jeffco students participate in evening rally

Lakewood High School

It started with just a few students standing out in front of Lakewood High School, but as 10 a.m. neared on March 14 – the few students turned into a group.

And as they started heading toward Kipling Street, what had become a crowd of students turned into something else – a swell.

Several hundred students lined up along Kipling, kept safe by school staff and officers from the Lakewood Police Department, holding signs with statements like “No More Silence on Gun Violence” and “Protect kids, not guns.” Some also chanted, “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Not one more.”

“This is a very good cause to be a part of, and a way to honor the people who have been killed by guns,” said junior DeDe Hobson. “We want to raise awareness about this issue, because even though people know about gun violence, nobody is doing anything.”

The Lakewood walk-out was just one of many similar events held at schools all over Jefferson County, the metro area, and the country, as students are taking a stand on the issue of gun violence. Lakewood students protested along more than a block on Kipling Street for 17 minutes – in recognition of the 17 students killed in Parkland.

The Lakewood event was organized by students by word of mouth and social media, said senior Logan Klutse. Students are taking the lead in the national debate over gun rights.

“I think it’s so important to stand with Parkland students and ask for sensible regulations on the issue,” Klutse said. “Through all these walk-outs, we hope people will really see us and hear our views. We want to build momentum and visibility about what’s important to us.”

Arvada West High School

“We need action,” wrote Arvada West student organizer Caitlin Danborn on the event’s webpage. “Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school. Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.”

Danborn was joined by many of her fellow students in expressing their concern of not being safe in schools and wanting change to happen and a higher level.

The entire protest was planned to only last 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of the Florida school shooting. 

MORE: Jefferson High School holds  assembly to honor Parkland  shooting victims

As the students stood in peaceful protests, cars honked as they drove by and a handful of community members stood nearby to show their support of the students.

“We were at the million mile march in 1999 for Columbine, and it’s like nothing has happened since then,” said Arvada resident Cathy Jackson. “Now we’re so excited something might happen again.”

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