By Bryce Becker
Cougars walked out of classes at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday to exercise their rights of freedom of speech and freedom to peacefully protest during an organized demonstration against gun violence.
The walk out lasted for 17 minutes to recognize the 17 students who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They honored the one month anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting as part of a national student movement that aims to end future gun violence.
“The main reason for us to walk out was to send a message: never again,” Olivia Yamamoto, junior, said. “No more mass shootings, no more senseless gun laws, and no more children dying just trying to get an education. We may only be high schoolers, but we understand that what is happening can and needs to be changed. We walk out for the ban of assault rifles, bump stocks, raising the minimum age for gun ownership, and more efficient and thorough background checks. Yes, we are teenagers, and, yes, we will make a difference by demanding change to benefit society and the earth as a whole.”
Students calmly walked to the football field where RJ De Castro, senior, named each of the victims from the Parkland shooting followed by a moment of silence. Students held signs saying “I’m not anti gun I’m pro life” that could be seen by the Fox 5 helicopter flying overhead. Chants like “Hey hey ho ho the NRA has to go” and “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” united the crowd, hoping to make the message clear that change must be made.
“It was amazing to see everyone come together for one common goal,” Maddie Griffin, senior, said. “Everyone out there supported each other. On the field, everyone was full of heart and passion. It was overwhelming to see how much everyone felt for the Parkland students and how anxious and hungry they were for change.”
Coronado had the most press coverage out of all the high schools in Nevada. Fox 5 News interviewed seniors Barry Corcoran, Sophie Zimmer, Maddie Griffin, Dakota Phillips, Saveria Farino and juniors Rayne Hayes and Monet Griffin before the school day started. These students wore orange shirts with the hashtag #neveragain front and center. Fox 5 anchor and reporter Alyssa Dietsch interviewed the teens through a twitter livestream, and multimedia journalist Kathleen Jacob posted videos of students from inside the football field and on the way back to class.
“I don’t want to live in a society, a city, a nation with people having to explain to children what to do if someone tries to shoot them in their school,” Alli Harper, junior said. “Today was a statement to the people who say our teenage anger about gun violence is a “phase,” and it is us telling them that we will not let this fade away while people are dying. Even if we cannot be the change, we can at the very least start it or inspire somebody else who has the resources to do so.”