LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) — One by one, students from Lakewood High School exited the classroom on Wednesday morning, united against gun violence.
Nearly the entire student body gathered on the front lawn as part of a National School Walkout protest after a shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.
“I refuse to be hunted by an assault rifle in my own school, where I should be learning and not dying,” sophomore Luke Burke said. “I refuse to accept that one of my friends or teachers or even my twin brother could be next.”
There have been more than 1,000 incidents of gunfire on school grounds since 2013, resulting in 355 deaths and 754 injuries, according to research from Every Town for Gun Safety.
“It’s very inspiring to see hundreds of students use their voices to demand that they not live in fear of gun violence,” Mary Anne Crampton, of Moms Demand Action, said. “The greatest cause of death for children and teens in [the] United States is firearms.”
Lakewood Student President Ameer Alkayali was proud to see the student body united and motivated to make change.
“We’re saying what needs to be said,” he said. “We’re voicing our thoughts, and it’s the job of our legislators, our politicians, our leaders to hear our voices, and recognize that First Amendment and let it have its place, rather than them lining their pockets at the cost of our lives.”
Lakewood junior Ronan Barley said it’s a realistic fear that a school shooting can happen anywhere, because we have seen so many instances in the past.
“Any student in America would be in danger,” Barley said. “It’s a real problem that should be looked at by the government. I think the lives of children should be the most important thing.”
Students at Willoughby South High School also participated in the National School Walkout.