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CNY High School Students Join Nationwide Walk-out to Mark One Month Since Parkland Massacre

John Smith

About 300 Nottingham High School Students in Syracuse joined Wednesday with other students nationwide to walk-out of their classrooms and join together to demand for tighter gun control policies.  They also let students and parents in Parkland, Florida know they’re thinking of them by taking a roll-call of sorts by reading their names, ages, and a brief description. 

"Never again!" the students chanted after each name.

They read all 17 names of students and staff killed exactly one month ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a lone gunman who was a former student.

The students felt a need to raise their voices and take a stand in solidarity with victims of gun violence, hoping they can make a difference.  Has’zahn Grimes and James Dickson shared with us the significance of the day.

"We just have to show how strong we feel about this.  We can't let our emotions  be hidden.  We all feel very strongly about this #neveragain movement.  We don't want to be left out of this.  We don't want school shootings, or other homicides in this city...we don't want any more gun violence to happen ever again."

Credit John Smith / WAER News

Elizabeth Carson and Clara Neville hope lawmakers will hear them and push for policy changes.

"There's a reason we're all doing this, and it's because there needs to be a change.  And we'll continue to do this until there is a change," Carson said. 

"That's very true," Neville agreed.  "I shouldn't have to be worried about my life when I come to get my education.  If it's an expectation for me to learn, it should be an expectation for you to not make me worry about that when I'm going to school."

Students and administrators stood in the center of the gymnasium in a cordoned-off circle with crime scene tape and an outline of victims on the floor.


Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
As many as 700 students gathered in the snow and wind outside West Genesee High School as part of the nationwide walkout Wednesday. This photo was taken from across the street. Police, plows, and school buses blocked all entrances to school grounds.

About 700 students walked out of West Genesee High School in Camillus Wednesday to mark the one month anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.  They gathered in front of the school as part of a nationwide walkout.  Police, plows, and buses blocked all entrances to the school campus in the interest of the safety of the students.  Media and others had no access to talk to those who’ve gathered outside the school for today’s walkout. 

WAER's Scott Willis reports, about 700 students walked out of West Genesee High School in Camillus to mark one month since the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

West Genesee Superintendent Dr. Chris Brown says he met with students three weeks ago to come up with a plan.  He says they knew they had the right to assemble, and the district had the right to establish time, place, and parameters.

They wanted to do something non-political, they wanted to exit the building, and they wanted to remember the victims.  I think they pulled that off and then some.  As a superintendent, to be there with 700 students and have them be absolutely silent for 17 minutes, just being respectful and remembering was very powerful.   It made me very proud to be a superintendent."

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
WAER News caught up with Dr. Brown after he returned from the walkout with the students.

Some folks watched from outside the drug store across the street from the school.   A few got out of their cars and remained standing for all 17 minutes of the walk-out along with these students in remembrance of the 17 victims of that school shooting in Parkland.

Superintendent Brown says 17 students each read a one-minute remembrance of a victim of the Parkland shooting.  

“I've known a lot of these students for a long time, and we've built a relationship over the years.  I can’t think of another word to describe how well they presented themselves, the message they got across in silence.  If there are parents listening of any of the children who were outside today, you did well.  It was incredibly respectful.”

The sound of an air horn marked the end of the walkout at 10:17.  The students quickly ran back into the school.  

Former WAER Chief Announcer Bruce Baff visited the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School after the shooting and offers this reflection on what he saw and some of the issues many are struggling with. Baff is a proud 1961 Syracuse University Grad and is living in Florida near where the tragedy occurred.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at