Anchorage students join in on 17 minute walk out
Wednesday, hundreds of students from Anchorage schools joined others across the country, in a show of unity to honor the Florida school shooting victims.
More than 300 students from Service and West High School combined gathered in front of their schools to send a message of love to their peers across the country.
"We want to show Florida that we are sad and crying for them. I think a lot of us have the same mindset but it is just that step forward that we don't know what to do,” said Dieuleveunt Biringanine, student body president at Service High.
The Service High student class president planned the walkout which attracted some 200 students. It happened during the school's third period and lasted for 17 minutes-- one minute for every victim in the Florida shooting.
"I was telling them to put our political views behind us right now because it isn't about guns, it’s not about gun laws, it's about lives right now,” said Dieuleveunt. “When you are talking about this with friends don't debate that we should have stricter gun laws. We should just raise awareness people are dying and violence is around us and we don't want to be next.”
Across town, at West High School, about 100 students joined the walkout.
"People are really surprised students have strong developed opinions on these matters,” said West High School student Haley McKinley. “These were opinions that have developed over a lifetime. We are expressing sentiments that we have had since sixth grade and middle school, it’s just now that we are on the cusp of adulthood we are just taken a little bit more seriously. Now we have the platform with which to talk about our opinions and thoughts on the world we are going to inherit."
ASD Superintendent Deena Bishop says she was proud to say these are her students.
"My thoughts are really positive towards them,” said Bishop. “They are doing what they believe in is right. They live in this world today and They do go high school in this day in age where senseless violence crosses our door."
The students hope their voices will be connected with others across the U.S. through social media.
"Our voices are not being heard," said Biringanine. "We are starting the conservation on social media and that is a step for us, because that is where we communicate the best. Hashtag never again, we don't want this to ever happen again."
Seventeen minutes, not a lot of time in the course of a school day, but for these students, 17 minutes mean a chance to make a difference.
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