Several Western New York high schools are organizing protest student walkouts on Wednesday to mark one month since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
One of those schools is Amherst Central High School, where students have organized a walkout that includes six student speakers and will act as a voter registration drive for students old enough to register to vote.
“We knew we didn’t want it to be a one and done," explained Kelsey Dux, a senior at the school. She is one of the student leaders who helped organize the event. "We knew that we wanted to actually have students feel as though their voice means something and they have the power to change. With that comes their vote.”
Elizabeth Hall, also a senior at the school, also helped organize the walkout. As she explains, the speakers will address gun violence and gun control in the wake of the Parkland shooting, but also other topics like mental health and bullying that also impact high schoolers.
"Our main goal is we want every student at our school to feel that they are wanted and they are included," Hall explained. "That's one of my topics when I'll be talking about bullying. Bullying should not be around our school."
Both students were emboldened to act when 17 people were shot and killed in a school in Parkland last month.
"The idea that someone can come in and cause such harm and hurt an entire community, we want to make sure this doesn't happen," Dux said. "I see my classmates. Despite not being in Florida, they're hurt by this event. We're all hurt by this event."
“By us doing this, it will show that we’re not going to take no for an answer, we want something to change," Hall said. "We’re going to do it in a respectful way and we’re going to do it together as a student body.”