HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — A sea of students flooded the Freeman High School baseball field on Wednesday morning.
Several hundred teens felt compelled to walk out in protest to gun violence in schools.
Their demonstration was orderly, peaceful and to those watching, inspirational.
“This isn’t a matter of okay, we can maybe do this. This is a matter of we have to do this,” said senior Maxwell Nardi who organized the effort.
They stood united for 17 minutes; one minute for each victim of the Parkland, Florida shooting.
“At the start of each minute, we read the name of the victim at Parkland and their story because they deserve to be remembered,” explained Nardi.
“These lives should not be forgotten because they are lives that were lost because of the inaction of our legislators. Because we’ve repeatedly done nothing for 19 years ever since Columbine.”
Parent Laura Johnson lives near the school. She proudly watched as her daughter walked out on the field.
“It was inspiring,” said Johnson, “I mean it brings me to tears that they’re starting at this age trying to get their voices heard to make those kinds of common sense changes.”
Students believe gun reform could make schools safer. They hope a youth movement might force lawmakers to take notice and make a change.
“We’re together in this. We’ve all been through active shooter drills. We all have the pain and understanding of the victims of Parkland and the victims across the nation and how this has gone down and we’re sick of it,” added Nardi.
“It was incredibly moving,” said Nancy Clancy, whose granddaughter walked out at Freeman.
“So inspiring. I’m awed by their action and their reverence and how seriously they take this,” Clancy told 8News.
Freeman students say they will also participate in the National School Walkout Protest on April 20th. That is the anniversary of the shooting at Columbine.