Chicopee High holds walkout to honor Florida shooting victims - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Chicopee High holds walkout to honor Florida shooting victims

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Several western Massachusetts schools took part in Wednesday's National School Walkout.

One such event was held at the Chicopee High School gymnasium. 

It was a decision by the students to stay inside and not go outdoors.

Hundreds of Chicopee High School students respectfully stood in silence inside the school's gymnasium as the ceremony began honoring the 17 victims of the Florida school shooting.

Holding balloons, students read the names of the 17 victims one-by-one.  Each student then walked outside and released the balloon into the air in memory of those killed. 

Their message inside was clear.

"Our schools are unsafe, our children and teachers are dying.  We must make it our top priority to save these lives," said one student.

There is a sense among students of being part of a larger movement calling for stronger gun laws.

"It's just our way of showing that we as a community think this should never happen anywhere.  This is a place you should feel safe and it's a way to come together and honor those people," said Benjamin Samoylich.

The ceremony lasted 17 minutes, one minute for each of the Florida victims.

Students feel this movement across the country can make a difference.

"It will always do some good because it we sat in our classrooms and did absolutely nothing, then there wouldn't be any thought of it like if nobody speaks out why would we do anything about it," said Tyson Porfirio.

It was the students decision to hold the walkout inside the gymnasium and not go outside.

"They chose to be inside.  I thought it was the right move.  I was more comfortable with it, to be honest.  I thought it drew a bigger crowd and it was well done," said Chicopee High School principal Jim Blain.

Students came away from the walkout with a sense of unity and dedication to a cause.

"I feel like the youth, something shows a lot.  We have higher officials and adults saying something, so I feel with more people joining into this movement, it will prove a bigger point to the people who can control that," said Denise Cruz.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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