Local Students Speak Out About National School Walkout

Local Students Speak Out About National School Walkout

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The American flag proudly waves above Thousand Islands Central School.

Inside are five high school seniors who have grown up together in the classroom beside 70 other students.

When the shooting in Parkland, Florida killed 14 high school students and three staff members, the girls were devastated.

"These are America's children, America's teachers. We should all come together and address the fact that there is a problem and we need to somehow do something about it," said Emily Morett, senior.

The day after the shooting, the students started to organize a school-wide movement for "National School Walkout" on March 14, a trend that is being honored across the country.

"We're making sure that the students walking out will be wearing orange for gun violence awareness. We will be reading memorials for the 17 victims, and giving a moment of silence," said Mikael Ann Melfi, senior.

"Thousand Islands Central isn't the only school taking part in the National Walkout Day. There are many others. Canton's district is doing a walkout, and in Jefferson County, Watertown High and Carthage Central are doing similar activities indoors to spread awareness.

With a school as small as T.I. Central, senior Delaney Aubertine says she can't fathom such a tragedy.

"Our class is less than 80 kids, so if 17 people were missing from that, that's enormous and such a big change and big chunk of our class. To think about that is just so moving," she said.

Thousand Islands High School principal Joseph Gilfus says he didn't hesitate to let the group make their mission become a reality.

"They're leaders. They're going to continue to lead when they leave us. And that's what we hope for, that's our goal," he said.

Schools not only in the north country, but across the U.S. are memorializing the tragedy in some way beginning at 10 a.m. next Wednesday.

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