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In walkout, Nashua high school students take a stand against gun violence

Around 500 Nashua High School South students took a break from the school day Wednesday to march and call for stricter gun control laws. Several students gave speeches recounting their personal experiences facing the fear of losing their lives in an active shooting situation. Others remembered loved ones who died in shootings and joined a minute of silence for the recent school shooting victims in Nashville.

Seventy-four people have been killed or injured by guns at American schools this year.

At one o’clock, hundreds of students filled the school’s main entrance; they then walked a lap around the grounds carrying signs that said, “Is banning Tik Tok more important than our lives?” or “ Don’t make me have a baby if they will never come home from school,” referring to recent efforts to ban abortion.

The walkout was inspired by Students Demand Action, a nationwide student movement to pressure lawmakers to introduce anti-gun bills that protect students' lives. On the weekend, Brynn Tefft, a sophomore at Nashua High School South, learned about this initiative and, along with junior Hayley Dolan, organized their classmates through a group chat. In minutes they had around 300 followers on Instagram, said Tefft.

“Last year, we had a couple of school shooting threats [in Nashua]. They were fake, but it is still terrifying,” said Tefft. “We shouldn’t fear going to school.”

Outside the school Wednesday, Dolan spoke to her classmates about her experience attending shooting drills for the past 12 years.

“This shouldn’t be a controversial subject because a child’s life is not controversial,” she said. Dolan said people are getting desensitized about mass shootings.

Marvin Dallemand, a freshman, stayed after the crowd dispersed. He said he’s heartbroken for the families in Tennessee and says he comes to school every day knowing that his life could be taken in a shooting. He said New Hampshire lawmakers need to “push for a real change”

Hunter Porter, a senior, said he’s often imagined what he’d text his parents in an active shooter situation.

“We feel hopeless because we think that we can’t do anything about this, but that is wrong; we can talk to our elected officials and get involved in politics,” he said.

The organizers were excited that so many students joined their call and hoped other schools around the state also joined the fight against gun violence.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.
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