Thousands of Students Protest Gun Violence in a National School Walkout

At 10 a.m. ET today, exactly one month after Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., students across the country walked out of their classrooms for a nationwide demonstration against gun violence.

The school shooting reignited the nationwide conversation about gun control, with students leading the charge toward stricter laws. Wednesday’s walkout is just one of the many ways that teens and young adults have stood up against gun violence. They’ve attended town halls, called out senators, pushed for new legislation, and on Wednesday they exited their classrooms, signs in hand, for a 17-minute protest to keep the dialogue going.

VIDEO: Students and Teachers Participate in School Walkouts Across the U.S. to Raise Awareness on Gun Violence

And brands are joining in. Viacom, which owns networks MTV, BET, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central, suspended programming for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. ET. Some stations broadcasted a paused message about the protest while MTV streamed stories about student activists in the push for gun control.

“This pause will coincide with the National School Walkout, a tribute to the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting, and to all young victims of gun violence. Students across the country will take over MTV’s social media accounts during the walkout,” Viacom said in a statement.

But during the 10 o’clock hour, students were anything but silent. They walked out of school holding signs and megaphones, calling for legislation that will prevent these tragedies from happening again in the future.

They wore orange shirts and held signs that read “We Demand Change,” “Support Our Students,” and “Stop Sending Us to School to Die.”

Some students participated by lying down on the grass:

The walkout continued for a few hours, as students across the country left class at 10 a.m. in their time zones in support of the movement.

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