On the anniversary of Columbine's high school shooting, students at Kenmore East High School are planning to take a stand against gun violence across the country.
An Instagram account called kehswalkout popped up just days after the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Two students who happen to be siblings started the account.
Kenmore East High School junior Vianca Colón and her brother, 8th grader Victor Colón started the account to spread the word about their walkout, planned for April 20th at 10 a.m. The walkout falls on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, which claimed the lives of 15 people.
"We have the power to wield technology like social media. This age is the best one to be in for people who want to make decisions and things like that and want to start movements and participate," says Victor. He says Instagram was the perfect way to engage his peers, because so many of his classmates are on it.
Not all of the response has been positive, but the teens say it doesn't bother them much, because safety comes first.
"We as students and teachers, so on and so forth, shouldn't have to fear for our lives going into school every day. We should just be focused on getting our education and seeing each other and being teenagers," says Vianca.
Their young ages aren't a concern either. "We can reach out to people using it (Instagram), we don't have legal power because the law deems we're not responsible enough but when adults won't handle it for us we kind of have to take charge," says Victor.
The Kenmore-Town of Tonwanda School District released the following statement in regards to the planned walkout:
In the wake of the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the topic of gun violence and school security is at the forefront of all of our minds. It is critically important that this tragedy has sparked a nationwide dialogue on issues related to violence, gun laws, and student safety.The Ken-Ton School District takes pride in promoting characteristics such as civic mindedness, conscientiousness, and empathy in our students. We understand that many students are passionate about this topic and wish to advocate for meaningful and effective laws to prevent gun violence. Schools will work with individual or groups of students if they wish to exercise their First Amendment rights to draw attention to this vital issue. We applaud students for their engagement and respect their right to express themselves regarding this important topic.