Thousands of local students participate in national walkouts

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Photo credit: Hercules Middle School officials posted this online during the national walkout event.

Thousands of students at West County schools today participated in national walkout events to remember the 17 victims who died in the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14.

Walkouts were set to start at 10 a.m. and last for 17 minutes. While students at some schools around the Bay Area and nation walked off campus, others held on-campus activities in support of the national movement, including those in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD). On Tuesday, WCCUSD superintendent Matt Duffy announced support for the movement but urged students to take part in on-campus actions as a safety precaution.

That’s what occurred at Richmond High, where thousands of students assembled in the school’s mall area to hear student organizers and faculty speak about the issues of gun violence and campus safety.

The following photo was shared on Twitter by Korematsu Middle officials from their student walkout in support of safe schools.

Same occurred at El Cerrito High, where, according to sfgate.com, “most of the 1,430 students jammed into the central quad for the protest, singing the song ‘Shine,’ written by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.”

At Hercules High, in addition to memorializing the Florida victims, a special remembrance was held for Otilio “Nico” Martinez, a 2016 graduate who was fatally shot in Richmond in September 2016 and whose “legacy of peace, love and unity lives on,” Nico’s mother Josie Martinez said.

“The staff [at Hercules High] says he will always have a special place in their hearts and that he will always be remembered,” Martinez said.

Today’s national walkout isn’t the end of local actions related to school shootings.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt is planning a March For Our Lives rally in Downtown Richmond on Saturday, March 24, the same day a youth-led March For Our Lives action is set to occur in Washington D.C.

The rally will be one of 500 worldwide events coinciding with the D.C. march, where organizers say kids and families plan to take to the streets to demand gun reform and an end to mass school shootings, according to the Mayor’s Office. The event was inspired by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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