Pittsfield students walk out of school to protest gun violence

February 27, 2018 05:36 PM

PITTSFIELD, MA. -- About 200 students walked out of Taconic High School in the morning, chanting and holding signs.

The walkout came about after 17 people died in gunfire at a high school in Parkland, Florida.   

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"To show them that we're with them and that we want change, too," said Bryanna McKearney, one of the walkout organizers.

Many students said the shooting hit close to home.

"The people that died were our age and in the same situation that we are, with being in high school and having to worry about college and school work and everything, so I think everybody kind of relates to that," said McKearney.  

"They were just starting their lives and their lives were cut short," said organizer Tyler Williamson.  "And I want to be able to give not only them a voice, but everybody around us a voice that they feel like they don't have."

Senior Michael O'Brien said the tragedy made him appreciate things more.  

"Really the small things really matter more now, because you never know when it's going to be taken away from you," he said.

It was a very orderly protest.  It was planned in advance, and school staff and police officers were there with the students to make sure they were safe.

Organizers loved the turnout.

"It's indescribable how much joy and pride I have in my school for doing this," said Williamson.

The walkout was about making their voices heard.

"We shouldn't be looked at as little kids.  We should be looked at as young adults who want to make a difference," said one student.

"They shouldn't wait for something to happen before they upgrade security," said another.

O'Brien said Taconic has always been a tight-knit community and that as a school, they make their voices heard.

"I think the biggest message here that we're trying to portray is even if you're pro-gun or anti-gun, I think we can all agree that we need change," he said.

Students in schools around the country are planning a similar walkout on March 14.  Organizers of the Pittsfield action say they wanted to do theirs as soon as possible.



Kumi Tucker

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