Thousands of students from across the country, including many in Connecticut, walked out of school on Wednesday as part of a national walkout to protest gun violence.
The movement came a month after gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Seventeen people were killed.
Students said they walked out of their classrooms at exactly 10 a.m. for 17 minutes to mark one minute for each victim of the school shooting.
One happened at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven.
Students there walked out and held a speaking event.
As hundreds of students packed the bleachers of the football field, classmates took turns sharing stories and speaking out, calling the problem an easy access to guns and mental health issues.
“If there is change that’s going to happen in this country, young people are going to be the push and they’re going to be the voice of that change,” said Frank Brady, high school dream director at Wilbur Cross High School.
The high schoolers say lawmakers should listen, because they say this generation is not going away.
“We’re the generation of gun violence which is the saddest thing for me to say. We were all born after Columbine, so we’ve grown up hearing about mass shootings happening almost every day and all of us are being affected, if it’s not us, it’s our friends, our family,” said Grace Ozcyk, a senior at Wilbur Cross High School.
More than 600 students at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy made their voices heard as well.
"These are our voices and we're done being silenced and we are done sitting around and worrying about someone coming in our classroom with a gun," said Maggie Powers, a student organizer.
"We have a chance to use our voice and be heard and I feel like we shouldn't lose that opportunity," said Janiah Prado, a senior.
The students read the names of the 17 victims aloud before the superintendent, governor and mayor.
"You know the way I see it is there are many learning opportunities here, whether it is in the form of a walkout or walk in a project that is done in the classroom," said Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford superintendent. "[There are] many opportunities for students to learn."
"I want you to each remember this day for what you've done to stand up to authority and say as you have said several times today that enough is enough," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
Students who didn't want to participate simply continued their lessons in class.
As far as the walkout went, it was a scenario that played out across the country.
"I wanted people to know that Stoneman Douglas will be the last school this happens to," said Julia Brighton, a Stoneman Douglas High School student. "We wanted to make a change, we want to be the generation that changes everything."
The coordinated walkouts stemmed from the organization Empower, the youth wing of the Women's March, which is widely known for the thousands of people that went to Washington DC last year.
Dozens of schools across Connecticut participated, including the Waterbury Career Academy High School, Bulkeley High School in Hartford, Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Cheshire High School, Farmington High School, Simsbury High School, Bacon Academy in Colchester and Platt High School in Meriden.
The notion caused some controversy at Southington High School a few weeks ago. Students there said their peers were divided on the topic.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League provided a statement on the walkout.
"What has been lost so far in this debate is the fact that our 2nd Amendment, like all rights, have been fought for by many generations before ours," said Scott Wilson, CCDL president. "This right of ours ensures protection from tyranny abroad, and at home. Countless lives have also been saved by the lawful use of guns. Though often underreported, one does not have to look very far to see clear evidence of this fact."
A "March for our Lives" coinciding with Wednesday's protest is being planned for March 24 in cities across the nation.
It's a movement in which students in Connecticut said they would also like to participate.
Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage.
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