JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Students at Jonesboro High School walked out of class Wednesday morning to show their solidarity with the Parkland, Florida shooting victims and other students across the country who are calling for gun reform.
The students were out of class for 17 minutes beginning at 10 a.m. to remember the 17 shooting victims who were killed one month ago.
"What really inspired us at the beginning was the Parkland students themselves, the survivors that have banded together and formed a national movement in response to what happened to them," student organizer and JHS junior Izzy Jones said.
Jones and several other student leaders spoke to the crowd of teens gathered near the school's main entrance.
A poem written by a Parkland survivor was read, the names of the deceased were read aloud, and the group called for the youth to fight for a change and an end to gun violence in schools.
Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd also talked about how students can make change by reaching out to other students who might be struggling, discussing their concerns, and standing up to peers who are making bad choices.
"We hope that we can not only show just today what changes we can make but long term we'd like to impact change, not only in eradicating gun violence but also changing the environment in our school," Jones said. "We need to have a more open environment between students and sharing when we see something, we need to say something. And we also need to have an open dialogue with our administration and be able to have more events like these where students can share their voices."
Jones and her peers planned the event and brought it to their administrators to get permission for the walkout.
Students also had to have a signed permission slip to leave class for the rally.
Jones said they were happily surprised by how many students participated.