CORTLAND, N.Y. — More than 50 students walked out of Cortland High School Wednesday morning as part of the National School Walkout.
The movement is part of an effort to demand that Congress pass stricter gun laws to prevent future school shootings.
The walkout took place for 17 minutes—one minute for each student or staff member of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that was killed in a mass shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida.
"I think schools need to have proper security," said student organizer Kali Boyce. "I think more laws need to be put in place for guns and make it harder for teenagers and adults to get their hands on automatic weapons."
Hundreds of school districts nationwide took part in Wednesday's walkout.
Several parents and community organizers also attended the event. Some held signs that read "Protect Kids, Not Guns" and "Students Lead the Way: Ban Assault Weapons Now."
Some parents said they felt compelled to join the students after the recent incident in Parkland, Florida.
"I'm hoping for increased awareness that this is a fixable problem,"said Laura Gathagan, who has a student enrolled at the high school. "Every developed country in the world has fixed this except for us."
Superintendent Michael Hoose had requested that news media not attend the event, though a staff member of the Cortland Voice was able to speak to a few participants before leaving the school campus.