Students mourn lives lost and protest gun control

Photos by Kimberly Bojorquez

A month after the Parkland school shooting, UCAS students participated in a planned protest by walking out of class March 14, for 17 minutes, to honor the 17 who died.

UVU students across campus participated in the walkout, while dozens of UCAS students, a small charter high school in association with UVU, united outside of their classrooms at 10 a.m. and lay down on the ground.

“Walking out is not only a way to show respect for those who have suffered, but also to stand up for what we believe is right,” said Colin Robinson, a senior at UCAS who walked out of class.

Alex Jiacoletti, a junior at UCAS, said that all of his peers walked out to peacefully protest for more gun control and to serve as a memorial for all of the lives that have been lost.

UCAS students mourn lives lost at Parkland shooting by walking out of class March 14.

“I hope to see more regulation,” Jiacoletti said. “I hope [legislators] actually take notice of what we are doing, and I hope they will see the kind of damage that has been done across America.”

Kylee Thomas, a student at UCAS, just wants to feel safe at school.

“[We] need stricter gun control,” she said.

Utah has never had a mass school shooting, but that doesn’t mean students feel exempt from this type of tragedy.

“Everyday is always a reminder,” Jiacoletti said. “It might not be a threat, but there is always a thought in the back of my head that something could happen today. Something could happen at UVU or at any school across Utah.”

UCAS students solute the flag during walkout.

Carly Misa, a UCAS student, said she doesn’t want to have to worry about her safety at school.

“It’s important to me because I don’t want to go to school and have to worry if I’m going to get shot. I’m here for an education. I’m not here for to worry for my own life. It is just getting so out of hand.”

However, not all students supported the protest.

Alex Hansen, the UCAS senior student body president, along with Taylor Syme, a senior at UCAS, stood outside to counter-protest.

“I don’t really think it’s a good form of protest,” Hansen said. “I believe that the more restrictions you [have on guns], the worse it will become.”

Syme said he walked out of class to make fun of the protest.

“I am actually a concealed carrier and it is not a threat,” Syme said.

Students unite to protest gun control outside of their classrooms.

“All use of speech should be promoted, especially in times like this where there is not a lot of unity in our country,” Robinson said. “It is important especially for high school students to see that they are not alone in their stances and that sometimes they might not feel safe and that a lot of people around them might not feel safe as well.”

No teachers participated in the walkout, but there was a banner for students to sign, along with paper in the UCAS activities center for students to write their senator.