BEND, Ore. - The message was clear as Central Oregon students participated in a nationwide school walkout on Wednesday.
"Never again," one typical sign read, and another said "Enough is enough."
Exactly one month after the Parkland school shooting, students walked out of class at 10 a.m. and took at least 17 minutes to honor each person killed.
“The walkout is a big part of the effort to grab national attention and, especially, attention from our government to try to make change happen,” said Lauren Hough, a senior at Bend Senior High School.
“I just feel this momentum across the entire country to make change on the subject of gun violence,” senior Emma Smith said.
Hough and Smith organized the walkout at the high school, and hundreds of other students rallied in the commons with them.
“We come to school every day to learn math, not to add up the bodies of students just like us,” one student speaker shouted.
Hough said, “I would like to see, first of all, bans on automatic weapons and bump stocks. I’d like to see more funding for public schools, in particular, safety measures for public schools. I would also love to see more funding for mental health care in public schools.”
A few dozen Redmond Proficiency Academy Middle School students walked off campus to make their voices heard.
Finn Kling said, “We’ve had enough of being afraid to come to school, where we’re trying to learn and make a better future for our generation to come.”
Organizer and student Juniper Rook said, “Elected officials are all too ready to share their thoughts and prayers, but thoughts and prayers don’t keep kids from being gunned down in the classroom.”
Christian Iveans said, “I have a little sister and a little brother. My little brother is going to be going to school next year, and my little sister is in school, and I’m scared they might be next.”
In Sisters, about 70 to 100 students walked out, which is about one-quarter of the student body.
“I’m out here because I believe everybody should be able to go to school safely,” junior Grace Maiden said.
It's a goal everyone seemed to share, and now the community is rallying for a dialogue on how to accomplish it.
“We all want the same thing. We all want to live happy, healthy lives and keep our kids safe," said parent Kelly Davis Martin. "It’s just how we get there that’s different. We want to be part of that conversation that’s based on kindness and mutual goals.”
But before the conversation, schools in Central Oregon and across the nation took a moment of silence to honor the 17 people killed in Parkland, and all those lost to gun violence.