"Books not bullets! We want change! No justice no peace!" were chants heard around the nation Wednesday as students walked out of their classrooms in participation of the #Enough! National School Walkout.
Thousands of students from Susan E. Wagner High School on Staten Island walked out the door and immediately began protesting. John Papanier, a senior at Susan E. Wagner High School gave a speech about gun violence and initiated a moment of silence during the peaceful protest.
The protest was set to last 17 minutes, to honor and remember the 17 who were killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14: Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Scott Beigel, 35, Martin Duque, 14, Nicholas Dworet, 17, Aaron Feis, 37, Jamie Guttenberg, 14, Chris Hixon, 49, Luke Hoyer, 15, Cara Loughran, 14, Gina Montalto, 14, Joaquin Oliver, 17, Alaina Petty, 14, Meadow Pollack, 18, Helena Ramsey, 17, Alex Schachter, 14, Carmen Schentrup, 16, Peter Wong, 15.
On Feb. 28, Susan E. Wagner High School was on lockdown for several hours when there was a report of a gun in the school. According to the police, the gun was never found and there was no credible threat, but students were terrified.
"I'm scared to walk into school now. We experienced our own scare." Papanier said to the crowd of students.
In addition to remembering the victims, students also spoke out against gun violence and the National Rifle Association. "It should be about human lives first," said Papanier. "We need to send a message that we are not going to sit in a classroom and wait for the next one; we want change now."
To see SILive.com's full coverage from National Walkout Day, go here.