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Vermont Students Join In National School Walkouts, Despite Some School Closures

While a number of planned walkouts were rescheduled Wednesday due to weather, rallies did take place across the state as part of a nationwide protest. 

RELATED: "Across The Country, Students Walk Out To Protest Gun Violence" [NPR]

Burlington High School

Over 100 Burlington High School students joined in a national walkout to protest gun violence this morning.

The 17-minute rally took place a month after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Student speakers in Burlington called on elected officials to support policies like background checks on gun purchases and restrictions on sales of some firearms.

Over 100 students at Burlington High Schools joined a national walkout to protest gun violence. The rally took place a month after 17 people were killed at a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Credit Liam Elder-Connors / VPR
Over 100 students at Burlington High Schools joined a national walkout to protest gun violence. The rally took place a month after 17 people were killed at a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Senior Amanda Tran says students should feel safe in school:

“The president and everyone else is not giving us what we need right now and what we need is comfort and securence (sic) and we don’t have that,” she said. “As a student body we feel like we can help make a change in order to help get to those steps, even if they’re little, we can make a step to those changes.”

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement Wednesday supporting the national walkout and the local students participating:

“Our children are doing something remarkable. Students in Burlington, in towns throughout Vermont, and across the entire country, are organizing the most effective gun violence reform effort in the United States in a generation. I applaud the leadership and activism of the students at Burlington High School, and elsewhere in Vermont, who have thoughtfully participated in National School Walkout Day and made their voices heard in Montpelier. Already, through their forceful arguments, these students have accomplished more in a few short weeks to move Vermont towards safer gun policies than has been achieved in decades. “As elected leaders, one of our most fundamental responsibilities is to enact and support policies that protect our children and provide safe environments for them to learn and grow. Our kids are right that we are failing as a country and state to meet this most basic responsibility. I am proud of the actions of Burlington students during their walkout today, and I will be in Montpelier tomorrow and in the weeks ahead attempting to amplify their message – we cannot miss the opportunity to make Vermont safer this legislative session.”
Brattleboro Union High School

Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR
Brattleboro Union High School student Lucia Morey talks to her classmates during Wednesday's civil action.

Just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, Brattleboro Union High School students left their classrooms and began walking out of the school. Just about a third of the student body participated in the rally, gathering outside the school's entrance.

Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR
About 250 students, approximately a third of the student body, took part in the walkout at Brattleboro Union High School Wednesday.

There they were met by about 100 members of the community there to show their support.

Community members hold signs in favor of gun legislation in Brattleboro, Vt.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR
About 100 members of the community met the students outside Brattleboro Union High School to show their support.

South Burlington High School

While school was canceled at South Burlington schools today, Matthew Vigneau, the 13-year-old middle school organizer of the school's walkout says the event has been re-secheduled for tomorrow.

"Our hope is that we can send this message to our legislators both in Montpelier and in Washington," Vigneau said Wednesday in an interview with VPR, "but since we can't vote, but we still need to have our opinions heard, that we need to have common sense gun laws. We don't want to have to turn on the news anymore to hear that more of our peers are being slaughtered in their classrooms because that's not OK."

Vigneau says a group of middle and high schoolers plan to walk out at 10 Thursday morning and gather in a parking lot for a moment of silence and speeches.

Reaction From Montpelier; D.C.

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
Henry worked for Vermont Public as a reporter from 2017 to 2023.
Tabitha was the spring 2018 newsroom intern at VPR.
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