Duluth High School Students Join National Gun Violence Protest

East and Denfeld Students Were Joined by Neighbors and Friends Showing Solidarity with Parkland Victims

DULUTH, Minn. – Last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was just the latest in a string of violence on school campuses.

Students from several Northland schools took part in a national walk out against gun violence to show solidarity.

It wasn’t a typical day at East High school in Duluth. At 10 a.m. on this Wednesday morning many students began to walk out.

It’s part of a nationwide protest at schools against gun violence.

Students like Alex Porter were proud to see students come together for a serious cause.

“It’s important that we get like the message across that this is something we need to fix because it isn’t in a great state right now,” said Porter.

It also marks the one month anniversary of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.

“The more people turn out to do this the more we can kind of open local and federal government’s eyes to kind of, this is what a lot of people are saying needs to happen,” said East High School Student Tristan Leusman.

Hundreds of students walked out of east high school for 17 minutes and proved you don’t have to say anything at all to make a statement.

While lying on their backs to remember people that lost their lives students held signs that said “Never Again” or “Enough.”

Terese Tomanek’s daughter graduated from East High School years ago. Back then she never worried about school shootings.

She believes any of these students could now easily become a victim.

“I can’t imagine as a teenager coming to school every day and wondering, who’s coming in after us?” said Tomanek. “What senseless act of killing is going to happen in this country again today?

But not every East student felt this protest was helpful.

One student tells us he would feel safer if his teachers were properly trained and armed.

“This was pretty much useless to me,” said East High School Student Skylar E. “I just feel that standing next to the libertarians shows some students that there are other sides to this argument.”

There was a police presence on site but no issues.

Most of the adults on campus I spoke to were happy students were taking matters into their own hands and speaking out against violence on campus.

The scene was much the same at Duluth’s Denfeld High School.

The sound of silence rang through West Duluth.

Shoes representing the Parkland victims lined the sidewalk.

As students made their way back to class, adult allies left the scene feeling inspired.

“It impacts me, it brings reality that these were real human lives even though we don’t live in Florida, we live in Minnesota, these were real young people that will no longer have a life,” said Jill Bianchet, who showed solidarity with Denfeld students’ protest.

The group hopes moments of silence across the country and in Duluth will inspire lawmakers to make changes to protect schools.

“We need to have a very serious conversation about what sensible gun control means,” said Katherine Speare, another Duluthian showing support. “We don’t need to necessarily wipe it all out but we have to do something that is sensible.”

They’re proud of the students for taking the initiative to start this national conversation.

“These kids have so much courage and so much strength and I just want to support them doing this,” said Kathleen Gates, another supporter. “We did kind of a lousy job in our generation so they’re our future.”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has proposed $21 million to enhance school security throughout the state with items like bulletproof glass and secure entrances.

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