SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Hundreds of thousands of students across the country walked out of school on Wednesday to make their voices heard regarding gun control in America.
That movement continued in Santa Barbara. Organizers were only expecting one hundred students from Santa Barbara High School to participate, but it turned out to be a sea of students marching and expressing their hopes for a change.
They were loud and clear on their thoughts about gun violence. Esperanza Ocegunda from future leaders of America says it was the students who organized the whole protest.
“They are dead serious about this issue,” said Ocegunda.
Students gathered inside the theater at 10 o’clock dedicating 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost at Parkland Florida. Then they marched to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens.
“I don’t feel safe at school,” said one Santa Barbara High School student. “We need gun control now more than ever. The adults have failed us to the point where some of us are dead.”
Students spoke about gun control, student safety, and mental health.
“We are really hoping for some gun control and some other legislation that can go through to support this measure against gun violence and also just a safer community in Santa Barbara because San Marcos has been having those threats continuously,” said Ocegunda.
The Santa Barbara Unified School District had staff members walk alongside the students for their safety along with plenty of police presence.
“Today is about students,” said Lauren Bianchi Klemann, spokesperson for the Santa Barbara Unified School District. It’s about giving them the ability to have a voice and speak how they feel about violence or student safety in schools.”
The school district also mentioned that all students who participated would not be punished, but would be marked as absent. For many students like Jamarre Davis, this time wasn’t used to just skip class.
“I am actually taking it very seriously,” said Davis. “I do not feel safe at school anymore. It’s just scary you know and I don’t stand for it.”