Students at several high school campuses in San Diego County participated in a day of protest Wednesday, calling for safer schools one month to the day after the deadly shooting in Florida.
The more than 3,000 walkouts were organized by Empower, the youth wing of the Women's March, which brought hundreds of thousands to Washington, D.C., last year.
The group urged students to leave class at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes — one minute for each victim in the Parkland High School shooting.
At Westview High School, about 800 students gathered to remember the Parkland victims and held signs saying "I want to read books not eulogies" and "Enough is enough."
The tone was somber as students read the names and mini-biographies of students killed in Florida.
“I think students are very upset with what’s happening because there’s no guarantee who will be next and we can’t guarantee it won’t ever happen again. Enough is enough and this is getting ridiculous that the adults of this country have not taken action,” said Marylynn Tracy, a student representative at Westview High School.
At one point during the walkout in 4S Ranch, traffic was backed up as police allowed students to cross an intersection. At least one driver didn’t mind the inconvenience.
“I love the involvement of our students. They’re the voice of our future. Traffic doesn’t matter. Students lives are what matter,” said Carolyn Holloway.
About 1,000 students at Del Norte High School walked out chanting "Enough is enough."
The symbolic 17-minute walkout lasted roughly 40-minutes as students took part in what was largely a sanctioned act of civil disobedience.
“We all need to stand together. Obviously the government isn’t really doing anything right now, so the students are the change right now,” said Megan Ochoa, a senior at Del Norte High School.
“We have a voice and we have energy and that’s the most important thing right now,” said Alex Wheeler, a senior at Del Norte High School.
A student at Del Norte used a bullhorn to read the first names of shooting victims in Florida. Students than marched about a half mile off campus. San Diego police officers and Sheriff’s deputies monitored the walkout, making sure students stayed on sidewalks.
School administrators also followed along closely, student safety their number one priority. At one point, the Del Norte Principal intervened as a small group of students trekked toward a busy intersection.
“We want to support our kids. We want to honor their voice, but we also have the obligation to keep them safe,” said Greg Mizel, Principal at Del Norte High School.
At Patrick Henry High School in San Carlos, chairs were set out - one for each of the victims. One student speaker encouraged classmates to take the time to talk with someone new as part of the movement. The school was also giving students time to register to vote if they were 18 or preregister to vote if they were 16 or older.
The Associated Student Body, or student government, organized five minutes of silence from 10 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. Wednesday. A few students also delivered emotional speeches, at points crying during them, saying all students just want to feel safe at school.
"Fellow Patrick Henry students, we should no longer have to negotiate for our lives," said Ashlee Watson, 17, during her speech to the crowd. "It is time to make a difference."
In University City, 17 trees at Standley Middle School have been dedicated to the victims of the Florida school shooting.
“We are here because we can walk out and we will stand up for what we believe in. Because if we don’t then who is going to stop it? Who is going to tell lawmakers you need to do this?” asked walkout organizer Zachary Patterson.
Eighth-grade student Aidan Ideker said,“I believe we should be able to go to school each day knowing that we are going to come home and our parents are going to see us again.”
Students at Point Loma High School walked out of classes at 10 a.m. and gathered on the school's football field.
At Santana High School, students gathered in the grassy area in the middle of campus in a show of support for the national movement.
At El Camino High School, students set up a memorial for the Parkland Victims on the grass outside a classroom, City News Service reported. Seventeen stakes were driven into the ground, with the photos and names of each victim attached. Below the photos, students put 14 backpacks, each with a personalized touch. There were soccer balls, a basketball and pom poms. A football and an apple were placed by the photo of Parkland football coach and educator Chris Hixon.
At Sunset View Elementary School and Golden Hill K-8, young students formed human peace signs outside during the walkout.
San Diego Unified School District spokesperson Isabella McNeil said more than 50 local schools had participated in Wednesday's walkout, including at least 20 high schools and a dozen K-8 schools.
At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — where 17 people were killed by a former student — students filed outside at 10 a.m. local time and gathered to honor the victims of the Feb. 14 massacre. After holding a moment of silence, speakers addressed fellow classmates and faculty members, and warned inactive lawmakers to "keep in mind that many of us will vote this November and many more will flood the polls in 2020."
Some schools applauded students for taking a stand or at least tolerated the walkouts, while others threatened discipline.