On the anniversary of one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history, and just months after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, Philly students from several schools protested at City Hall in Philadelphia Friday and marched through the city.
One large group of high schoolers even staged a massive '"die-in" in the courtyard that lasted for 45 minutes.
"As high schoolers with limited ability to vote and impact the current political climate, we think that it isn’t only needed that we act on this issue, rather it is an obligation to ourselves and to our future," said Asaf Lebovic, a 9th grade at Germantown Friends School, one of the schools that participated. "This is a human rights issue. This is our right to live. Adults have time and time again failed us in this movement, taking the time to debate and discuss this issue while innocent people repeatedly die across the country. We refuse to be distracted."
GFS was one of about eight other schools that participated in the die-in, which was held from about 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
"We demand gun reform, including a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks, and a gun violence restraining order law. We also demand that guns stay out of our classrooms and reject the idea of arming our dedicated and passionate educators," the schools said in a statement. "We won't stop taking action until there is change and will continue to contact our legislators, educate ourselves and communities in person and online, ask our peers and family members to register to vote, and magnify the voices of this critical youth movement."
Hundreds of Philly students walked out over the course of the day, which follows two previous coordinated national mass protests of school and mass shootings.
"It's important that we set a precedent by walking out today and protesting. We all have a voice and we will be voting soon," said Alice Daeschler, a senior at Germantown Friends School. "We are working together with other schools so our voices are even louder and more effective, and it shows that we aren't just standing up for ourselves, but schools, families, and communities everywhere."