Central students take part in gun violence walkouts - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Central students take part in gun violence walkouts

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Students at Central High School in La Crosse walk out of classes on Wednesday, March 14. Students at Central High School in La Crosse walk out of classes on Wednesday, March 14.
In Onalaska, students walked out of classes as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence. (William Schauberger/Emily Wittkop photo) In Onalaska, students walked out of classes as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence. (William Schauberger/Emily Wittkop photo)
In Onalaska, students walked out of classes as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence. (William Schauberger/Emily Wittkop photo) In Onalaska, students walked out of classes as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence. (William Schauberger/Emily Wittkop photo)
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Students at La Crosse Central silently walked out in protest Wednesday to take a stand against gun violence.

They walked out of the building at 10 a.m. and remained out for 17 minutes, each minute representing one of the victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting that occurred one month ago.

"This isn't gonna happen again," said Central senior Willow Tolle. "We don't want this to happen again."

Lined up in a long single line in front of the school facing Losey Boulevard, some held signs, while others hands clasped and arms locked. 

Inspired by the Parkland survivors, they joined thousands of other students nationwide for National School Walkout, calling on Congress to take action on background checks and a more heavily vetted process for purchasing semi-automatic weapons.

"I don't feel safe at school," said senior Marley Richardson. "I have made an escape route plan from each of my 8 classes in the event of an active shooter and I don't believe that's a plan I should have to make."

Richardson also cited "The Dickey Amendment" as cause for concern. The amendment was added to a CDC funding bill in 1996 saying that no funding will be used to "advocate or promote gun control". It doesn't explicitly prevent studies on gun violence, but it has created a lack of information on the national level, according to some critics. 

"Data on gun violence should not be political, I think it should be necessary," Richardson said. "Important change can be made and that's not being done with [guns]."

Critics say the student-led protests are just excuses to get out of class, however they weren't without consequence. School officials at Central said they support the students' right to free speech but don't condone activity involving students walking outside and compromising their safety. Classes continued as planned at Central during the walkout. Students involved in the walkout received unexcused absences.

"Those people who say that … no school student goes unaffected by this," said Tolle. "I think this could very possibly happen in our school and any school close to us. We wanna be protected when we go to school."

Similar walkouts also were planned in Onalaska, Holmen, and Tomah on the 14th. Logan High School students staged a demonstration indoors on the 13th.

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