The chants and cheers could be heard throughout Downtown Boise:
“Go away! NRA!”
“Protect kids, not guns!”
“This is what democracy looks like!”
Hundreds of teens swarmed the Statehouse steps in Downtown Boise on Wednesday morning to join the 2018 Enough is Enough Student Walkout. Idaho students were part of a national walkout orchestrated to press adults to take action on school safety and gun violence in the wake of deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
The students from a variety of Treasure Valley high schools carried signs and gave inspiring speeches and heartfelt pleas to an energized crowd that spilled into the streets, which were blocked from traffic by state troopers.
“I’m here to show support for people who have experienced gun violence,” said Monique Kitnikone, a senior from Eagle High.
Borah High’s Nick Cuelllar attended the event with a handful of classmates. “Schools need stronger security,” he said. “We need adults to stop guns from getting into schools.”
Borah High’s Mykahla Woolum said: “I’m so confused why some people are allowed to have guns in their possession. I should feel safe at school.”
The event began around 10 a.m., the same time as Idaho lawmakers started their floor debates inside the Statehouse. The Senate and House did not elect to recess to hear the student speeches, which lasted an hour. At one point during the assembly, the students laid down on the steps for 17 minutes to honor the 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one month ago.
Around 11 a.m., some of the students went inside the Statehouse where lawmakers continued to do their business.
The largest portion of students came from Boise High around 10:15 a.m. They walked from their school with a police motorcycle escort. Their arrival was greeted with enthusiastic cheers.
One student speaker at the Statehouse told the crowd his teacher said … “I would take a bullet for you and thank you for ditching my class today.”
Marcus Hernandez, a student from Sage International Charter, said he attended the walkout with his mother and sister to bring awareness to mental illness. “We need to put more funding into mental health — mental health matters,” Hernandez said.
Not all Idaho students went to the Statehouse to advocate for gun control and safer schools. Some held events and assembles on their own campuses.
Middleton HS Principal to gathered students who observed 17 minutes of silence: “It takes a lot of strength to stand up for what you believe in…I admire those of you demonstrated that, because it’s not always easy to say, ‘This is what I believe in.’” #NationalWalkoutDay #Idaho pic.twitter.com/fWPKhbg17Z
— Nicole Foy (@nicoleMfoy) March 14, 2018
— Areena Arora (@AreenaArora) March 14, 2018
Thank you to the student leaders at Kuna High School for organizing a meaningful assembly and panel to discuss school safety and security and for implementing Kindness Week! A powerful way to honor the lives of those lost. #kavemenarekind #protectthekave pic.twitter.com/8j601Sn9Wb
— Lori Den hartog (@lori_denhartog) March 14, 2018
— Julie Wootton (@julieswootton) March 14, 2018
Walkout starting at Lewis and Clark high school pic.twitter.com/SmpJudJTkZ
— Wilson Criscione (@Wilsoncriscione) March 14, 2018
A group of students at Ridgevue High School walked out of class as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence at 10 a.m. March 14th. pic.twitter.com/Osk8b7MKR6
— Ky Tucker (@_kytucker) March 14, 2018
Entire crowd asked to sit and lay down as the names of those lost to mass shootings over the last few years are read aloud pic.twitter.com/7aKjs7T7z2
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) March 14, 2018
Today many of our students spoke out on school safety, paid respects to victims of school violence, and encouraged each other to be part of the solution. We are listening to them and will include their voices in ongoing discussions on how to make our schools secure and welcoming. pic.twitter.com/xCWFZWN48Y
— CdaSchools (@CdaSchools) March 14, 2018