Students organize school walkouts throughout Broward, Miami-Dade

Thousands of students, staff members participate in walkouts

By Erica Rakow - Reporter, Roy Ramos - Reporter

Students at schools throughout Broward and Miami-Dade counties are organizing walkouts in support of the "Never Again" movement for more stringent gun control laws.

The movement comes after 17 people were killed in last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Local 10 News reporter Erica Rakow was at Cypress Bay High School in Weston Wednesday morning as 5,000 students and staff members participated in the walkout.

"It was pretty tragic what happened, so enough is enough. We got to make a change," one student said.

The students held signs with different messages, such as "I am fed up … We all are!" with a photo of a gun crossed out and "Bring on the politicians! We will rise!"

"We want to show support for those who lost their lives and make sure that this doesn't happen again," one student said. 

From the bay, the crowd walked out onto the road and over to Vista Park, where survivors of the school shooting shared their experience.

"I think that it's important that they come and they talk to us, and they tell us their experience so that we can advocate, and we can fight with them, and stand with them as students so this doesn't happen again," Senior Class President Julia Levy said.

Cypress Bay High School Principal Scott Neely supported Wednesday's walkout and meeting with some of the school shooting survivors.

"They put this together," Neely said. "They were on the phone with me until 2 (a.m.), making sure everything was taken care of. Three students from Stoneman Douglas came down to speak today ... Everybody in Broward County schools is feeling the love for Marjory Stoneman Douglas."

Meanwhile, students from a couple schools, including Coral Springs High School and Cooper City High School formed giant hearts in their school's football fields. 

Over at Westland Hialeah High School, students protested for a little under an hour, but that was all the time they needed to make their voices heard.

"We want change. We want change," the students chanted.

The groups of students across Miami-Dade and Broward counties are calling for action from lawmakers to make changes to gun laws, especially when it comes to the purchase of assault rifles.

"How many kids will have to die for the message to get across? How many kids will have to die before they understand that this needs to stop?" one student said.

At Hialeah Senior High School, more than 4,000 students nearly filled the football field as they stood against a fence with signs that read, "Fear has no place in our schools,"  "Stop gun violence" and "Enough is enough." 

"I should be worried if I can pass a test, not if I could lose my life," a student said.

At Westland Hialeah High School, students also gathered on the football field, sharing messages among themselves before voicing their concerns. 

"We don't think that it should be legal to own a gun with the ability to kill that many people in such a short amount of time," student Andrew Fernandez said. 

Administrators at some of the schools said they supported the students' message, but wanted to make sure they were protesting in an orderly fashion.

Coral Springs police said on Twitter that walkouts in their city were scheduled for noon. Police asked students participating in the walkouts to stay on Sample Road and Coral Springs Drive. 

Drivers were urged to proceed through those areas with caution or to avoid those areas if possible. 

Some roads in other South Florida cities were closed during the protests.