TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Thousands of students participated and are participating in a national walk-out day, including many students in our area.
The walk-outs are to remember the students who lost their lives in the Parkland, Florida shooting one month ago, and to show support for the students fighting for school safety.
Whitmer High School students and staff walked out of school at 10 a.m. They walked to the football field to form a human heart. Their walk-out lasted 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of the massacre at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Students at Bowsher High School also payed tribute to the 17 victims with 17 minutes, but referred to it as a walk-up instead of a walk-out. Students say today was a way for them to reflect and stand up for what they believe is right.
Senior Darnell Halsey, spokesperson for the walk-up, says a walk-out sounded rebellious. He says this is not an act of rebellion, simply students standing up for what they believe in.
Halsey says walking up to someone, saying hello, or sitting with them at lunch is all it takes to make someone's day a little brighter.
"I give people hugs in the morning. I tell them hello, I tell him good morning. Just one simple good morning can change someone's day, and I just feel walking up to them and doing that is the best way to go about it," Halsey said.
The tribute started off with 17 seconds of silence, after which students raised orange slips in the air with the names and ages of the victims in school shootings over the years. They also released orange balloons into the sky, as people all across the country wear orange to raise awareness about gun violence.
For Bowsher students who did not take part in the tribute outside today, they were given other options to pay their respects in their classrooms.
The walk-outs reached up to Michigan at Bedford Area School. The Parkland shooting hit especially close to home for them.
Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Athletic Director Chris Hixon was one of the victims of the shooting. His sister Natalie is a teacher and coach at Bedford Junior High.
Bedford superintendent Dr. Carl Shultz says the school supports the students' decision for a peaceful protest.
"Every student who's out here is supporting safe schools, so it's not about gun violence. It's not about guns or purchasing guns. It's about safety and how to be safe in our schools and how to keep children safe across the nation," said Dr. Shultz.
School counselors are available for students or staff who wish to talk to them.
Rogers High School, Bowling Green High School and Toledo Early College also participated in Wednesday's walk-outs