Mar 14, 2018, 4:56 PM ET

Energized high schoolers rally across US in school walkouts: 'You don't want your brother, sister ... to be the next victims'

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Thousands of high school students, many still far from voting age, are streaming out of schools across the country today to protest against gun violence in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.

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“I’m just mad there’s no action by our government representatives,” Daniel Rogov, a junior in Brooklyn, New York, said today.

“It’s all thoughts and prayers; it’s all talk,” he told ABC News. “After a gun violence tragedy there’s a speech talking about how we need change but there never is change.”

PHOTO: Students from Harvest Collegiate High School stand in Washington Square Park, March 14, 2018, in New York to take part in a national walkout to protest gun violence, one month after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 people were killed.Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Students from Harvest Collegiate High School stand in Washington Square Park, March 14, 2018, in New York to take part in a national walkout to protest gun violence, one month after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 people were killed.

PHOTO: Students rally in front of the White House in Washington, March 14, 2018.Carolyn Kaster/AP
Students rally in front of the White House in Washington, March 14, 2018.

PHOTO: Young people participate in the National School Walkout over gun violence at a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2018.Michael Reynolds/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Young people participate in the National School Walkout over gun violence at a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2018.

PHOTO: East chapel Hill students hug as they take part in a student walkout on March 14, 2018 in Chapel Hill, N.C.Bernard Thomas/The Herald-Sun via AP
East chapel Hill students hug as they take part in a student walkout on March 14, 2018 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The event, which began at 10 a.m. across every time zone, was officially scheduled to last 17 minutes -- one minute for each of the victims gunned down in the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But many students are rallying for much longer.

To the students at Stoneman Douglas, Daniel's message is, “Keep making your voices heard. While the politicians might stop talking about this, we’re not done.”

PHOTO: Students from Washington-Lee High School hold up posters with pictures of Parkland school shooting victims during a walk out in Arlington, Va. on March 14, 2018.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Students from Washington-Lee High School hold up posters with pictures of Parkland school shooting victims during a walk out in Arlington, Va. on March 14, 2018.

PHOTO: Students from Fiorello H. Laguardia High School lie down on West 62nd street in support of the National School Walkout in the Manhattan borough of New York, March 14, 2018.Mike Segar/Reuters
Students from Fiorello H. Laguardia High School lie down on West 62nd street in support of the National School Walkout in the Manhattan borough of New York, March 14, 2018.

PHOTO: Students across the U.S. walked out of classes on March 14, 2018, in a nationwide call for action against gun violence following the shooting deaths last month at a Fla. high school.Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Students across the U.S. walked out of classes on March 14, 2018, in a nationwide call for action against gun violence following the shooting deaths last month at a Fla. high school.

Over 3,000 walkout events were registered to take part in today's call on Congress to pass tighter gun control laws, according to ENOUGH National School Walkout, the event organizers.

The walkouts are across the nation, from Michigan to Maryland, from Colorado to California, and from the White House to Washington state.

"Remember why we are walking out," Stoneman Douglas survivor Lauren Hogg wrote on Twitter today. "We are walking out for my friends that passed, all children that have been taken because of gun violence. We are walking out for the empty desks in my classes, and the unsaid goodbyes. This epidemic of School shootings must stop."

In Washington, D.C., a huge crowd of chanting students gathered in front of the White House. Once the clock struck 10 a.m., the students silently sat down with their backs to the White House.

Even though most teenagers can’t vote, “we just want the White House to hear us,” Abby Silverman of Bethesda, Maryland, told ABC News outside the White House.

Kevin Butler told ABC News he came to the White House to “make sure there are stricter gun laws,” and even though the president wasn’t there during the sit-in, Kevin thinks their voices will be heard.

PHOTO: Students gather in Washington D.C for the National School Walkout, March 14, 2018.ABC News
Students gather in Washington D.C for the National School Walkout, March 14, 2018.

PHOTO: Young people participate in the National School Walkout over gun violence at a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2018.Michael Reynolds/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Young people participate in the National School Walkout over gun violence at a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2018.

From the White House, the students marched to a rally at Capitol Hill.

PHOTO: Thousands of local students march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol during a nationwide student walkout for gun control in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2018.Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of local students march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol during a nationwide student walkout for gun control in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2018.

At one Evanston, Illinois, school, about 3,000 of the 3,500 students walked out, the school said.

“We should come to school and be protected, not where we have to come to school and fear for our lives,” Evanston student Alexis Harris Dyer told ABC News "We are all gathered together to show that we care, to show that we have voices. We are young people and we are passionate about what we have to say.”

At the massive walkout was a massive call-in, as students flooded lawmaker's offices all at once with calls for gun reform.

“I’m a high school constituent of [Gov.] Bruce Rauner," one teen said on the phone. "I’m calling to request that you take action to reform our nations gun laws.”

“Often our words are ignored," Dyer said, "So I think this is a way where we can actually be taken seriously.”

Student Emma Stein added, “I hope to inspire the next generation of voters and get young people engaged in the political process and to hold their representatives accountable. ... As long as there’s a threat of mass shootings in schools, I think students will remain very dedicated to the issue.”

PHOTO: Students from Harvest Collegiate High School form a circle around the fountain in Washington Square Park, March 14, 2018, in N.Y. to take part in a national walkout to protest gun violence.Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Students from Harvest Collegiate High School form a circle around the fountain in Washington Square Park, March 14, 2018, in N.Y. to take part in a national walkout to protest gun violence.

At a rally in Denver, high schooler Jlynn Terroade said, "It's really important for students to exercise their rights and be activists for what they believe in. That's what today was all about."

"Our Second Amendment seems to seem to care about guns more than students," Terroade told ABC News. "We have to empower ourselves."

Another Colorado student, Adriana Strode, added, "You don't want your brother, sister, your daughter to be the next victims of a mass shooting. ... We're here to open people's eyes so they can see this is a big issue." 

Women’s March Youth Coordinator Tabitha St. Bernard Jacobs, one of the few adult allies guiding the students in the youth-led movement, told ABC News before the event that while the walkout was sparked by the Florida school shooting, the event is about pressuring Congress to act against gun violence overall.

She said the walkout was a way to shed light on the kind of gun violence that exists not just in schools but every day, like shootings that affect communities of color or devastate cities like Chicago.

How participants spent those 17 minutes of the walkout was up to them, St. Bernard Jacobs said. Some people were doing a lie-in, while others held rallies, she said.

Thousands of miles away from Parkland, Florida, at a Southern California school, students placed 17 empty desks in the quad, each with a flower and a picture for the 17 shooting victims.

At one Michigan high school, the names of all school-shooting victims were read as students walked out in silence, according to the school.

@ps10bk #nationalschoolwalkout #brooklyn #walkout #marchforourlives #enough @taramm323

A post shared by Kristina Gibb Photography (@kristinagibbphotography) on Mar 14, 2018 at 8:48am PDT

Students from around the world were also eager to participate.

Students at the Zurich International School in Switzerland took part, gathering outside in the shape of a peace sign. Students snapped this photo via a drone.

PHOTO: Students at the Zurich International School in Switzerland took part in the United States National School Walkout, March 14, 2018.Courtesy Zurich International School
Students at the Zurich International School in Switzerland took part in the United States' National School Walkout, March 14, 2018.

"I'm really proud of our two students who organized the event and took the photos," Upper School Principal John Switzer said via email.

Izzy Harris, a student at the American School in London, said students at her school, including herself, walked out "to demonstrate that the U.S. government needs to make changes to their gun laws."

"Although we are not directly affected in the U.K., a number of us are American and have many connections to the U.S.," she told ABC News via video.

PHOTO: Students pose for photographs with a banner outside the front of the American School in London, after taking part in a 17-minute walkout in the school playground, which was attended by approximately 300 students aged 14-18, March 14, 2018.Matt Dunham/AP
Students pose for photographs with a banner outside the front of the American School in London, after taking part in a 17-minute walkout in the school playground, which was attended by approximately 300 students aged 14-18, March 14, 2018.

While many school districts were supportive of the protests, some schools had threatened to discipline students participating in walkouts.

At the high school on a South Korean base where U.S. military forces are stationed, officials warned students not to walk out, saying policy prohibits protests on U.S. military installations.

"Seoul American High School will maintain a roster of any students who walks out of class and will provide that list to the Yongsan Garrison Command Team to determine if any further steps are warranted," Principal Donald Toy Williams Jr. wrote in a memo to parents and sponsors posted on the school's Facebook page today. "We would also like to note that any student who leaves campus during the walkout time will be dealt with by the military police who will take their name, information, and then escort them back into school control immediately."

In Plainfield, Illinois, where some students had planned to walk out, doing so came with a guideline.

PHOTO: Students gather on their soccer field during a 17-minute walkout protest at the Stivers School for the Arts, March 14, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio.
SLIDESHOW: PHOTOS: National School Walkout

Students who wanted to participate in the walkout also had to attend an after-school discussion with state legislators to discuss issues that relate to school violence, like the political process, school safety, gun control and what influences politicians, Plainfield School District Superintendent Lane Abrell told ABC News.

A student who walked out but did not attend the discussion with state legislators would get a one-hour detention, Abrell said.

Abrell said the walkout "in my opinion ... doesn't really solve the issue," and the meeting with local legislators is a way for students who genuinely are passionate about the cause to learn how school violence issues can be solved.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said schools could punish students for missing class for walkouts, but the punishment should only be because students missed school and not as a harsher punishment because the students participated in a protest.

Dozens of colleges and universities had said they won't penalize applicants who are peaceful student protesters.

ABC News' Ali Rogin, Connor Burton, Elizabeth Mclaughlin, Katherine Carroll, Frank Elaridi, Rachel Katz, Doug Lantz, Andy Fies, Dennis Powell, Fergal Gallagher, Armando Garcia, Evan McMurry and Samantha Reilly contributed to this report.

News - Energized high schoolers rally across US in school walkouts: 'You don't want your brother, sister ... to be the next victims'

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  • mbp3rJOUR3650-002

    It is interesting, yet devastating, to follow this issue concerning gun violence in America…still seeing no initiated action from the legislative bodies of our seemingly apathetic government, even though it is being forced to their attention through recent protests and activist rallies. How many more shootings will it take for our country to see some sort of change in gun laws and/or how guns are distributed and controlled? The most recent school shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A total of 17 students were murdered and Nikolas Cruz, the man responsible for the massacre, is on trial for 17 counts of premeditated murder, as well as 17 counts of attempted murder. Protesting students held a respectful 17 minutes of silence across the country at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, also right outside the Whitehouse in memory and grief for the 17 students killed in the Parkland school shooting. We have students, as young as 12 years old, protesting outside the Whitehouse today in fear of gun violence, trying to manage a way to have their voice heard. This article displays the protests very well in my opinion. The pictures speak louder than words, showing the fear, anger, and emotional distress expressed on the children’s faces. Although they are just minors, they are still brave enough to voice their opinions publicly, trying to make an adequate difference in this country and its citizens. Because as of right now, standing strong and being brave are the only choices they have. If anything needs to be taken seriously in this country, it’s the voices of our youth. They are the future decision makers of America and only they can make a true difference in how this country constitutes a better place to thrive in years to come.

  • P-dizzle

    I support these kids and am eager for them to be old enough to vote.

  • yetanother1

    So proud of these students for having the courage of their convictions. Especially in the face of political resistance to any gun control and total surrender to the NRA. As an example, the governor of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) called the student protest and walk out, "shameful". Hard to believe our representatives are so stupid and even harder to believe, people still vote for them.

  • oakgrovehobbitt

    Other than those arranged by adults for photo ops, the big walk-out was not.

  • Billy Bob Smith

    Here's the big problem with these protests. Congress, in general, doesn't give a rat's a** about high school students because most cannot vote, and those that can, don't. Their concerns can be easily ignored. If you're not a vote for the politician, you just don't matter.

  • Misty Mac 💯

    Fox news (cable) pundits said this morning that these kids were used as political pawns by “the left,” including their schools.

    They are of the opinion that the organizers misled parents and that half of these kids would not have been permitted to participate had their parents known it was not as much a tribute, as a referendum on gun restriction.

    Conservatism is all about silencing your voice. The pundits seemed to suggest that parents strangle their kids’ voices.

    Thing is, these kids are between zero and four years of voting age. They are the next generation of voters and whether their parents co-sign their views or not, they want a solution to the gun violence THEY and other students are experiencing. This goes for inner-city, suburban and rural schools. They all participated yesterday.

    Soon their voices will be heard at the polls.

  • Stormy2010

    What did the Utah students who nearly had their school bombed have to say? C'mon, let us know, media. Or is this walk out only about certain types of violence and not others?

  • RZC

    IMO this is the Death Neal of the Republican Party AKA the NRA do you really think these upcoming leaders and voters are going to be Republican NAW ain't gonna happen at least most of them won't be . Heck this was/is a major trend on campus even before these events , just go on campus and see for yourself the younger generation believes in integrity, compassion , honesty all of which is lacking in the Republican Party , Trump is iron clad proof of that he isn't even a decent human being

  • inonepeice

    If you have a problem with these kids marching because they don't want to get shot and killed at school your IQ could possibly rank in a negative number, I never thought it possible until today. But some posts I've seen today have proved it.

  • John Rader

    I'm sure that the students would prefer boycotting classes for 17 days rather than 17 minutes which would show even more support.

  • James Higginbotham

    just baby COMMUNIST IN TRAINING.
    HITLER WOULD BE PROUD AND SO WOULD LENIN AND KARL MARX, STALIN ET'AL.
    ALL DICTATORS LOVE AN UNARMED SOCIETY YOU LITTLE FOOLS.
    marching AGAINST YOUR OWN FREEDOMS.

  • Rich

    May as well stop selling cars. Thousands of people die every year from car accidents. Those cars are dangerous, it's not the drivers!

  • Lee Thompson

    To those who support these students, have a nice evening. Tomorrow is another day.