South Sound students joined others across the country in a 17-minute-long walkout Wednesday morning to protest gun violence.
The nationwide protest comes one month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.
Since then, students have pressed legislators to pass stronger gun laws.
Among the local students who participated were those from Timberline, Olympia, Capital and Tumwater High Schools; Reeves, Aspire and Reeves middle school; and South Puget Sound Community College.
School administrators in Olympia said last week that students could face unexcused absences if they participate.
“(E)vents such as these are student-led events and not school-sponsored activities ...,” the district’s email noted. It said that classes will continue on their normal schedule during the walkout.
Students also rallied elsewhere in the region. Jason Lee Middle School students lined Division Avenue in Tacoma while holding signs and chanting.
“End gun violence including police brutality,” read one while others supported Black Lives Matter.
“I shouldn’t be scared to get my education!” one sign read.
In Tacoma’s Theater District, boys from Annie Wright School stood while students from Seabury Middle School sat in silence for 17 minutes.
“I am out here protesting the recent school shooting in Florida and the fact that recently people have stopped feeling safe in school due to these many school shootings and gun violence,” said Philip Greene, an Annie Wright freshman. “I hope that people start to listen because this is not the first time something like this has happened, and it very well might not be the last. I hope that people will finally start to listen and finally start to, at least, do something.”
About 200 students at Puyallup High School, some carrying signs with names of the 17 killed in the school shooting in Florida, marched to Pioneer Park.
“We came together to organize this walkout because we wanted to be a part of the greater movement that’s going on around the nation,” said Puyallup senior Rimpal Bajwa. “We just want to be a part of the conversation that the students in Parkland started to support them and show solidarity with them.”
Reporters Kate Martin, Allison Needles, Danielle Chastaine, Craig Sailor and Craig Hill contributed to this report.