Teachers demonstrate outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Calls to end gun violence come on 19th anniversary of Columbine massacre

By Erica Rakow - Reporter, Ian Margol - Reporter

PARKLAND, Fla. - Teachers demonstrated outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday morning, holding signs and shouting "Never again" as they called for an end to gun violence.

A national school walkout was planned for later in the day, but because the teachers will be in their classrooms, they elected to let their voices be heard before the school day began.

Their message comes on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado and more than two months after former student Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 rifle to open fire at the Parkland school, killing 14 children and three faculty members.

"It would have been nice to have a bulletproof window, and then maybe he couldn't have shot through and killed two of my students," teacher Ivy Schamis told Local 10 News.

Schamis said arming teachers isn't the answer.

"Absolutely not, 100 percent not," she said. "It could not have protected us against an AR-15. No way."

Some students participated in the national walkout, leaving campus and heading to a nearby park.

"It's somewhat good that things have quieted down at least a little bit, but the important thing to remember is people are still taking action," student activist David Hogg said.

Hogg said several student-led organizations are holding marches and organizing the walkouts.

"Other students are standing up and becoming leaders of their own, and that's what the real story is here -- the students that are standing up and working to fix this issue when our politicians won't," Hogg said.

Some students from other South Florida schools gathered on the steps of City Hall in Fort Lauderdale, where they were greeted by Mayor Dean Trantalis.

"It's unacceptable that it's been 19 years since Columbine and nothing has been done to protect us and our schools," student Ariel Feldman said.

Trantalis praised the movement and compared it to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

"This demonstration today and this movement is even more important than what was back then because this is regarding your right to life," Trantalis said.

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