Auburn High School students mirrored schools around the nation Tuesday morning when scores of them walked out of class in protest over gun violence.
Students gathered in the school's courtyard from 10 to 10:17 a.m. in remembrance of the 17 people who died in a February school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A sign the students held up read, "#17lives17minutes."
“I just feel like it was wrong, what happened to them,” said AHS student Shaima Hone. “I feel like they should be acknowledged more.”
Another student, Emma Kate Cotten, said she didn’t think this walkout would change the world, but that walkouts like this would slowly make a big difference.
“I feel empowered and like we have the power to make a difference,” Cotten said. “I feel like we should definitely take action because it’s been going on too long, and something needs to be done.”
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Students spent the 17 minutes standing in silence and praying. AHS student Brandon Sinniger read out the names and ages of the victims from the Stoneman Douglas shooting.
“The time for moments of silence are gone,” Sinniger said to the crowd. “The issue needs to be addressed."
Since the nationwide walkouts on March 14, a month after the Parkland shooting, there was another shooting at a Maryland high school early Tuesday morning that sent two high schoolers to the hospital and killed the 17-year-old alleged gunman.
“The fact that there was another school shooting this morning, it’s really ridiculous that stuff hasn’t been done yet,” one AHS student said at the walkout.
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Auburn City Schools were on spring break last week when thousands of students across Alabama and the rest of the country walked out of class in a similar fashion.
A school resource officer and some of the school administration watched the students as they gathered in the courtyard, and no students got in trouble for walking out of school during the demonstration.
Students at other schools have faced repercussions for the protests. AL.com reported on Monday that a Bessemer student received two days of in-school suspension for criticizing his high school's plan to avert a potential walkout.
“We thank you for everyone around this place,” prayed one AHS student. “And we thank you for just letting us not get suspended today.”
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