Students walking out in protest against gun violence at Cypress Lake Middle and High School. Photo via Jamie Tufariello

Students in Southwest Florida walk out against gun violence

Students across Southwest Florida are walking out of class today in protest against gun violence.

The walk outs are in response to the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and faculty were shot dead.

The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of being responsible for the attack. Cruz was reportedly armed with a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle and had multiple magazines.

Palmetto Ridge High School

Palmetto Ridge High School students and parents have one thing in common with the Parkland Community — they want change.

Junior Kaitlyn Sokolich, who lost two of her friends in the Parkland shooting, is planning to use her voice to make sure students feel safe.

Sokolich organized the rally around noon Wednesday to honor the 17 lives lost at Stoneman Douglas High School.

“I’m hoping to inspire people to get out there and know that they are a fresh face of change, that they can motivate and inspire people to get their message out there,” Sokolich said.

Parents are taking action too by pushing for more security measures in Collier County schools after two instances of kids bring weapons to school in the last week.

“There should be more trained security staff, metal detectors, kids shouldn’t be allowed to carry weapons in school,” parent Gloria Angeles said.

Port Charlotte High School

Port Charlotte High School students walked out Wednesday in solidarity with the “Never Again” movement.

“We talked about how we aren’t just standing up for ourselves at this point, we’re standing up for everyone across the nation,” senior Gabrielle Seibert said.

More than 30 students repeatedly shouted the names of the 17 Parkland victims and are determined to put an end to gun violence.

“I think the most tragic part about what happened was that it was 100 percent preventable,” Seibert said.

Charlotte County schools said students who walked out will have an unexcused absence unless they had parent permission — a consequence some students said was worth it.

Walk out at Port Charlotte High School. Credit: Kristi Gross

Cypress Lake High School

Students gathered in front of Cypress Lake High School chanting “How many more? How Many more?”

“I really hope to see change, because when I come to school, I feel not safe because there’s so many open spaces in our school, but I really hope things change,” student Sophia Muench said.


Students shared photos via the WINK News Facebook page:

Writer:Derrick Shaw