National, local victims of gun violence honored at Washington High School walkout

Photo courtesy of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who also attended the student walkout Wednesday at Washington High School.

Thousands of students across the U.S. put down their books and walked out of their school doors Wednesday to protest against gun violence.

The protests come one month to the day that 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School there were gunned down and killed.

Hundreds of Washington High School students walked out promptly at 10 a.m.

Students say gun violence is something that's affected them personally.

They say they didn't walk out just to honor the victims of the Florida shooting-- they walked out to recognize the four teenagers who died from gun violence here in South Bend over the past few months.

With signs that say those teenagers names-- hundreds gathered in front of the school.

The senior who organized the event says she wanted to show students they could make a change and their voices could be heard.

They were heard-- by Mayor Pete Buttigieg-- who spoke to the students.

He told them the worst part about being mayor is getting a call saying a teenager has died. He says he wants the gun violence to stop too.

Some of the students said they're scared a shooting could happen at their school.

Other local walkouts are 17 minutes long but this one lasted a little longer to honor the victims here.

"It was 20 minutes long, so we have three extra minutes of silence and that part was kind of emotional, a couple people were crying because it hits so close to home because it's in South Bend and we know these people they're the same ages us so we're really thinking like who is next or am I next,” said senior, Chantel Harding.

Students are hoping that after this walk, a change will come not just nationally but here in South Bend.

“Our generation, definitely. We could be the change," said Jadzya Cross, senior.

"I want people to know we are serious about this. We want to be heard,” said Chantel Harding, senior.

"It's just crazy to think that somebody went into a school to kill people. Like it could happen anywhere, especially here,” said Cross.

“You could hear it in the voice of the student who was singing,” said Buttigieg. “You could hear it in the students who were praying and consoling each other. You know this issue is very raw around here, whether it's mass shootings like what happened in Parkland or other forms of violence, including those we've seen in this city. It has got to stop.”

In the past few months four teenagers have died in South Bend because someone pulled a trigger.

“We had people here in our community who died because of gun violence, so their lives did matter and I would be ashamed if I didn't honor those people who died,” said student Lurain Davidson.

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