Odyssey Community students join in on nationwide school walkouts on Columbine anniversary

Photo credit: WLOS Staff

Students from across the country are standing up and walking out of their schools Friday to in the latest round of gun-control activism. This latest protest is being held in line with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting that left 13 people dead in Littleton, Colorado.

In Asheville, students with Odyssey Community School gathered to make posters before making their way downtown.

At 10 a.m., students at dozens of schools left class to take moments of silence honoring the victims at Columbine and other shootings.

In their march, they were joined by students from several other schools including French Broad River Academy.

Students and supporters went from Odyssey School to the Vance Monument where students Asheville High were already waiting.

From there, the students went to Pack Square Park and began their program.

Teachers and staff members at Odyssey Community School supported the efforts of their students and allowed those who wanted to walk out to walk.

We spoke with the organizers about their goals moving forward. “We want the government officials to see that we care, that all these schools in Asheville are willing to get out and march and show that we need action in this cause,” said co-organizer Bella Wells-Fried.

They say they support several bills that would expand background checks, prohibit certain accessories and a 7-day cooling.

Organizers say there will be walkouts in every state, with more than 2,700 registered on the event's website.

The walkouts are the latest in a wave of youth activism that has emerged after the Parkland massacre.

Tens of thousands of students left class March 14 to protest gun violence in what historians called the largest youth protest movement since at least the Vietnam War. Days later, hundreds of thousands of teens and their backers rallied across the U.S. calling for tougher laws on guns and ammunition.

Plans for Friday's walkout began only hours after the Parkland shooting, when a Connecticut teen started an online petition calling for protests on the anniversary of Columbine.

Administrators at many schools in the country allowed the walkouts in March, opting not to punish participants. But some now say the leniency has expired.

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