Approximately 150 Geneseo High School students participated in a National School Walkout on Wed., March 14.

Approximately 150 Geneseo High School students participated in a National School Walkout on Wed., March 14.

The walkout was in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., where 17 individuals, including students and staff, were killed on Feb. 14.

The national event was designed to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in Florida and to raise awareness for school safety.

At 10 a.m., participating Geneseo students exited their classroom and walked behind the school to the football stadium.

With heads bowed, students listened as classmates read the names of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

For the remainder of the 17-minute walkout, Geneseo students joined hands and stood in silence.

Geneseo School Superintendent Scott Kuffel said the walkout was “very respectful.”

“The students who participated treated the situation very maturely,” he said.

The week before, Kuffel announced to the Geneseo School Board that students participating in the walkout wouldn’t face discipline action.

“We feel when we treat the students with respect, they treat us the same way,” he said. “We want to work with students and hear their voices.”

Piper Howard, one of the walkout organizers, said, “Students have worked with administration and staff to plan this. This is our issue, we are the ones affected. We are the students, teachers, the children. We are fighting for our safety and well being, just for our lives. And since no one else is fighting for us, we fight for ourselves.”

Emily Yost also helped organize the walkout and said, “Students should not have to fear for their personal safety at school. It’s not a privilege, it’s a right to feel safe and be safe throughout the school day. A child’s right to a safe education is more important than anything else.”

Her sister, Elizabeth Yost, added, “Right now, it’s the youth fighting for action against gun violence. The students who, in addition to fire and tornado drills, had to learn what to do if a gunman targeted our school. We watched as children just like us in schools just like ours were murdered. So, when we walk out, it’s a fight for our lives. We are walking out because 17 teachers and students can’t. We grew up terrified and no one else should too.”

GHS junior Avery Spranger, said, “We as high schoolers do have voices, and even if our current politicians don’t manage to pass legislation, I believe we will be the generation to help stop gun violence.”

Jacob Ryder, a GHS junior, said, “If our generation is expected to fix problems we didn’t cause, we are going to do it how we want to.”

Will Sammons, a sophomore, said, “If we want change, we have to try and make it ourselves. That means calling your local congressmen, being educated on the topic, and knowing the facts.”

Howard said, “Teens have a voice, and that voice deserves to be heard. We control our own destiny, and we’re not destined to be victims.”