Miami-Dade County

‘They don’t teach us how to dodge bullets:’ Hundreds walk out of class to honor Parkland

They’re taking the lead from the 1,000 students at West Boca Raton High School, who ignored initial pleas from administrators and marched the 12 miles or so to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It was a show of solidarity with the survivors of the Valentine’s Day attack that took 17 lives and who are now pressing Tallahassee lawmakers to alter the state’s gun laws.

On Wednesday, students from at least a dozen high schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are expected to march from their classrooms. Most will stand silent for 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 students at the Parkland high school who lost their lives.

Hialeah and American senior high school students are expected to march. So are kids from Hialeah Gardens, Doral Academy, Cutler Bay Senior High, Miami Palmetto Senior High, and Miami Beach and Ronald Reagan high schools. Other schools taking up the cause include John A. Ferguson Senior High, Nova High School, Barbara Goleman Senior High, Coral Gables Senior High, South Miami Senior High, Westland Hialeah High School and MAST Academy.

Screaming at the top of their lungs and shaking the fencing between them and passing cars on East 49th Street, many Hialeah High students chanted “We want change!” in both English and Spanish as drivers honked their horns.

The students said they organized the rally with help from the school administration.

Betsy Subiros, a 15-year-old freshman, said last Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas left her heartbroken because many of the kids were her age.

“They had so much to live for,” she said, holding a banner that said “Fear has no place in our school.”

“It feels good to be heard,” she added.

The students said they felt motivated by the actions of a handful of Stoneman Douglas students who have organized a fast-growing #NeverAgain movement to apply pressure on lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws.

Heymel Monzon, a 16-year-old junior, said it “feels great” to finally be heard and to be a part of a bigger movement of kids his age.

“I think this is a beautiful thing,” said 16-year-old Yanire Ramirez, a junior. “Honestly I feel like nobody listens to us. We can make a difference.”

Students from Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines are expected to leave their classrooms as well. One sign at an early rally there read: “They don’t teach us how to dodge bullets.”

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Students rally for safe schools and gun control on Wednesday morning, Feb. 21, 2018, at Flanigan Senior High in Pembroke Pines. CASSIA LAHAM For the Miami Herald

On Feb. 14, former student Nikolas Cruz walked into the Parkland high school and fired rounds from an AR-15. Thirty-two students and administrators were struck, 17 of them died.

On social media, hundreds of students were shown marching to Hialeah City Hall. Another video showed Florida State University students march to the state Capitol.

Wednesday afternoon, police departments across Broward County announced street closures due to peaceful protests by thousands of students from Coral Springs High School, Coconut Creek High School, Hollywood Hills High School, Monarch High School, Taravella High School and Coral Springs Charter School.