Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are organizing protests pushing for legislative action on guns and mental health.
One protest is scheduled for Wednesday in Tallahassee. It will be the 43rd day of the regular legislative session. The high schoolers say they’re going to push state legislators to revise gun laws before the scheduled end of the law-writing session in three weeks.
"We see things like Pulse and Sandy Hook and so many other shootings and massacres all over the country that are just let go within a week," said Adam Alhanti, a junior who spent more than an hour hiding in the school's band room. "Our politicians are really doing nothing at all, and it’s sad."
Alhanti was among students who organized a meeting with reporters on Sunday afternoon in North Community Park, just down the road from the high school. Although the students are taking action, their grief over the loss of 17 classmates and teachers is still raw. As the crowd at the park grew, a man who said he was from a local church called for a moment of prayer and concluded by praying for forgiveness for the alleged shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
The man was shouted down by parents and students, including Chris Grady, a senior at the school.
"The anger I felt, I've never felt anything like it before," Grady said. He said he'd like people to focus on mustering political unity for legislative solutions to guns and mental health treatment.
"An AR-15 is just made to kill as many people in the shortest amount of time possible," Grady said. "If I wanted to, I could go out and go buy one right now. I’m 19 and that’s not OK. I shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Nobody should be allowed to do that."
The high schoolers also are planning a march on Washington D.C. on March 24. They’re encouraging students nationwide to join them in protest -- either in the nation’s capital or in their home cities.