NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Students sat in silence for 17 minutes in the Niagara Falls High School auditorium as the names of the 17 people killed in Parkland, Florida were read one minute at a time.
The walkout was moved indoors due to the weather, but more than 20 students still chose to stand in silence outdoors.
“The fact that we were standing outside in the cold and freezing wind chill shows that we’re extremely dedicated to what’re talking about,” said Olivia Adams, Niagara Falls high school senior and walkout organizer.
Students are calling for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources.
“This is an out of classroom teachable moment where they can learn how to express their voices in an appropriate way,” said Carrie Buchman, Niagara Falls High School administrator.
Niagara Falls police stood alongside students to ensure their safety while getting their message across.
“In this time of heightened alertness and awareness we need to make our presence known so these students that are holding this vigil know we are there to protect them,” said Chief Bryan Dalporto, Niagara Falls Police Superintendent.
Students also filled out two hearts for a memorial heart display. One with their name on it, and the other with what they will do to make the school a more positive place.
“We are not doing this just to get out of class, we are not doing this just because it seems like the right thing to do. We know in our hearts that we are sick of being scared in our schools and we want to make a difference in this community,” said Adams.