Maricopa High School students participated in a demonstration Friday morning on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
More than 100 students began the event with a 17-minute moment of silence in remembrance of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims in Parkland, Florida.
The student-led event occurred during National School Walk-Out Day – a countrywide protest in which students walked out of school for the day in commemoration of school shooting victims and in frustration with what many view as a lack of action by lawmakers against classroom gun violence.
MHS students held their demonstration on campus and deemed it non-political. Previously, students walked-out Feb. 17, days after the Parkland shooting, but eventually returned to class.
“We didn’t want it to be so political because honestly the problem is right here in our own schools,” said Brianna Barnes, 17, with the Student Concord Club.
Barnes said students are asking for more lockdown drills and additional safety measures on campus.
Law enforcement and first responders were at MHS during the event and held a static display of vehicles and equipment during lunchtime.
“We want our students to be aware of the resources available to the high school and community in the event of an emergency situation,” an email from MHS to parents stated.
Friday’s demonstration included a passionate speech authored by 16-year-old Simon Crawford during the first two classes of the morning.
The self-described introvert wanted to speak about school safety during the February walk-out, but didn’t have the courage.
Friday, Crawford found the bravery, climbed atop a lunch table and read the message aloud.
“People need to be aware because there’s so much misinformation and misconceptions spread about all these issues,” Crawford said after the event. “People try to make this such a heavy political issue when it’s not — and we should not be treating it as such.
“This is a safety issue. This is a lives issue. This is a human issue,” Crawford added.