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Bellingham students plan walkout to protest gun violence, honor Florida shooting victims

Dozens of tudents plan to walk out of four Bellingham high schools Wednesday morning including: Bellingham, Squalicum, Options and Sehome - to honor the 17 people who died in the Parkland, Florida shooting and to protest school violence. (Photo: KOMO News)

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - A student movement sweeping across the nation is making its way to Bellingham.

Dozens of students plan to walk out of four Bellingham high schools Wednesday morning including: Bellingham, Squalicum, Options and Sehome - to honor the 17 people who died in the Parkland, Florida shooting and to protest school violence.

Their call to action comes from a place of wanting to live and wanting to go to school without fear.

“The 17 victims who died in Florida, they can't graduate, they can't walk,” said student Makenna Russell through tears. “They won't have a future and their parents are on their own."

Students plan to walkout of class at 11:22 a.m. to a rally, then they will collectively march to City Hall to peacefully protest.

Students are demanding stricter background checks for gun buyers and safety upgrades to their schools to prevent another shooting.

It’s part of a national movement started in Parkland, FL called #neveragain.

“We can’t keep losing our peers. These are our peers,” said student Catherine Poubere. “We don’t want to say goodbye to our peers before we graduate. We want to walk across the aisle and say, ‘we made it.’”

School leaders said Wednesday's classes will run on a normal schedule.

Principals from all four high schools sent out a letter saying they want all students to feel safe and respected, whether they choose to protest or not.

They commended the students saying in part, “We are proud that student representatives from all four high schools are collaborating together and taking action for something they believe in. This is a great example of the Bellingham Promise’s One Schoolhouse Approach in action. It’s also a good lesson in democracy and the right to have a voice in government. Students feeling passion and advocacy about an issue can be a powerful learning experience. “

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