CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - Students across the Bay Area joined their counterparts around the country this morning, walking out of class – some in memory of the victims of last month’s school shooting in South Florida, others to protest gun violence.
For students at Clearwater High School, there was a personal connection. More than half of the CHS
Student body -- easily more than 1,000 students -- participated in the walk out.
They all met in the gym and then walked out on to the football field for what was a very touching ceremony. The choir sang and students spoke, reading letters. They then read the names of each Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims, followed by the ringing of a bell. It ended with a moment of silence.
The students also heard from an intern at Clearwater High. She lost a family member in the shooting.
"I hope everyone listens to his message and understands we need to make these schools safe, that we need to be the last family, we are the last family, we are the last ones that ever have to lose their child from going to school,” Caitln Gumiela offered. "It’s unity. We are all coming together as one, to help each other out, and we are honoring."
The students say they hope their demonstration sends a message to law makers to tighten school security and gun laws.
In some school districts on the east coast, students were told they would be disciplined for walking out like this, but the administrators and staff at Clearwater tried to ensure it was a positive experience for everyone.
Meanwhile in Sarasota county, hundreds of students filled Booker High School's gym for a rally and a moment of silence. SkyFOX flew over similar demonstrations in Pasco and Polk counties.
Even Hillsborough County students, who are on spring break, plan to gather at Ybor City's Centennial Park for their own march this afternoon.