DALLAS - School walkouts across the country on Friday are marking 19 years since the Columbine High School massacre.
On April 20, 1999, two students opened fire at the school in suburban Denver. They killed 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves.
Friday’s walkouts honored the victims of Columbine and other school shootings. Youth activists are also protesting gun violence and demanding tougher gun control laws.
In North Texas, students at more than a dozen schools planned to hold demonstrations. SKY 4 flew over Allen High School and Frisco’s Lone Star High School for the walkouts.
“The thing that really hurts the most… every time afterward it’s just a cycle of mass shootings. The thoughts and prayers are sent out. There’s a little period of sadness. But then it just goes away until it happens all over again with no policy-making or action that could prevent the deaths of these children,” said Mariana Herreria, a senior at Lone Star High. “I hope that politicians know what we’re not going to give up until we see the change we want to see in place. Our disposition is everything we have. The platform we have is already low because we’re just students. But we’re going to use that as much as we can.”
The students at Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas worked with administrators and police to organize a rally featuring speakers, dancers and musical performances during an elective period. The students returned to class afterward.
“Unless we do whatever we can to keep that girl away from the gun that would kill her, we have no right to be shocked. The cycle will continue,” said Mae Haines, a dancer at Booker T.
“It is chilling to imagine our classmates, our friends, our peers, our teachers, gunned down in their own classrooms,” said Booker T. student Lance Jackson. “And I say to that it is time for change."
Student Terrence Dean shared the story and frustration of how his older brother was shot to death when he was just 9 years old.
"I ask of you, student body, I ask of you, citizens of Dallas, and I ask of you, law abiding Americans, what kind of nation are we?” Terrance said. “What kind of nation are we where we value our firearms more than our God given right to live?”
A walkout and pep rally planned at Keller High School was canceled after a threat of violence. In a note to parents, the principal said police are now working to find the person behind the threat.