PARKLAND, Fla. - Students walked out of schools across the country for the National Student Walkout, including at Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting one month ago sparked Wednesday's wave of protests.
“This shows love. This shows strength. This shows resilience. This shows compassion," said Liam Kiernan, a sophomore. "This shows everything we worked so hard to achieve right now.”
Stoneman Douglas students met on the football field for a school-sanctioned walkout at 10 a.m. that lasted 17 minutes for the 17 victims. Principal Ty Thompson spoke, the students listened to the original song their peers had composed about the shooting and they held a moment of silence.
"The whole school just got into a huge hug," said Emma Stravitz, a freshman.
“I thought it was the most strengthening thing I’ve possibly ever seen since the vigil," Liam said.
Parents and other people were outside the school fence with signs, chanting in support of the students.
While the high school students were on the football field, students from Westglades Middle School walked out. Sixth, seventh and eighth graders marched down the sidewalk chanting in support of MSD and holding signs.
“In my mind I thought this is the time for change," eighth grader Ethan said. "We need to be heard.”
After the event at the football field ended, Douglas students walked out their front gates.
“I did it for Alaina and I did it for the 17 people that died and I think it was very necessary to do," said Sabrina Mifsud, a freshman.
Students then walked to Pine Trails Park down the road, where memorials are still set up for the 17 victims.
“I was really best friends with Alaina and I meet random people that knew her and we share our good moments with her and I think it really really helps emotionally," Sabrina said.
“I come to it and I sit down and it makes me feel like I’m closer to them," said Madeline Dwyer, a freshman.
People from the Parkland community joined the students at Pine Trails Park to show their support.
“Make somebody feel like they’re not alone," said Luis Valente.
Valente's 9-year-old daughter Ella gave out high fives and hugs, while holding a sign in support of Douglas students. She will walk in Washington D.C. for March for Our Lives on March 24.
“I want to show support," Ella said. "No gun violence because I want this to stop. I want it to stop. I want gun violence to not be allowed anymore.”