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Kalamazoo Students Say They'll Keep Demanding Tighter Gun Rules

Kalamazoo students say they plan to keep pushing to tighten the nation’s gun laws. Many took part in a nationwide walkout Wednesday, one month after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Students at Loy Norrix High School left school grounds in February to protest inaction on gun violence. This time, the district had a hand in the planning. Students gathered on a sports field and read the names of those who died at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Some of them wept while they observed a moment of silence.

One student held a sign that read, “Leave assault rifle guns to the military.”

Despite inaction after other mass shootings, senior Alina Offerman, who helped to organize the walkout, says she thinks this movement can succeed.

“The difference now is a lot of our generation is coming to that age where we can vote and we can make that change that’s in our government,” she said, adding that she is “ready for voting.”

Fifteen-year-old Michaela Martin expressed confidence that adults would enact stricter gun laws.

“If your kids are saying that this is not safe for us and we need protection, then you’re going to hop on board too, so with all of us standing up for what we need our parents will too,” she said.

But like Offerman, Martin also indicated that she plans to vote. She’ll turn 18 the month before the next presidential election.

Kalamazoo public middle school students also planned to walk out on Wednesday, according to the district. It said younger children would observe the day with activities celebrating peace.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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