As part of a nationwide protest against gun violence, students at Fullerton Troy High School walked out of their classes at 10 a.m on Wednesday.
Julianne Kim, a senior at Troy High School and part-time student at Cal State Fullerton said the protest was “uplifting.”
“We left class a little bit early to walk out to our main quad, to protest against gun violence (in) schools. The participation was a lot higher than expected, so it was definitely positive,” Kim said.
Although students stood within the school gates, many gathered around the quad surrounding 17 empty chairs to honor the 17 victims who were killed in February during a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
In February, a 15-year-old girl threatened violence against Troy High School on social media. The girl was said to have threatened the school in a group chat and was taken into custody by Fullerton Police on Feb. 1, according to the Orange County Register.
This was not the first violent threat to Troy High School.
Last year, two male students from the high school were arrested after they were overheard plotting a school shooting they described as “bigger than Columbine,” according to a Fullerton Police announcement.
“A lot of the administrators walked around last week to give us a short talk about what would happen if a shooter came on campus,” Kim said. “The threats that came to our school made the problem more real and tangible for us.”
Kim said she hopes the national walkouts raise awareness against gun violence and that the school can increase safety on campus.
“It’s kind of hard for me to say if the school itself will be more secure, because it’s very easy for people to just walk onto campus still, and I think that’s definitely something that worries me and a lot of other kids,” Kim said.
Students in Los Angeles Unified School District also staged walkouts on their campuses in similar hopes for school safety and gun control.
Freshman Amanda Alcala walked out with her classmates at Nathaniel A. Narbonne High School.
The school’s administrators were supportive of the demonstration and even shortened their class schedules to accommodate the walkout, Alcala said.
Similarly to students from Troy High School, Alcala said most students in her school stayed on campus. However, some jumped the fence.
The students who stayed around the quad chanted “Forget the silence, control gun violence,” Alcala said.
“It’s not necessarily about the gun itself, who has it, it’s more like the person’s mentality. I feel like they should pay attention to the person’s background and see how they would use that weapon,” Alcala said.
While students walked out of schools across the country, the House of Representatives passed the STOP School Violence Act, which would offer $50 million annually to states to help train students, teachers and law enforcement in preventing violence and suicides in schools.
No plans have been set to impose any gun bans at the federal level.