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Ohio Students Protest Gun Violence: 'Too Much Death For No Reason'

Students at Lakewood High School in Northeast Ohio joined a national day of walkouts to protest gun violence.
Lakewood High School Walkout
Students at Lakewood High School in Northeast Ohio joined a national day of walkouts to protest gun violence.

Students at several Northeast Ohio high schools staged walkouts Wednesday, a week after the deaths of 17 people at a Florida school.

Nearly 50 students at Lakewood High School were among the teens protesting gun violence and calling on federal lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws.

The students walked out of their classrooms at noon and marched laps around the campus, chanting: “No NRA, No KKK, No fascist USA.” Some held signs that said, “Silence never solved anything.”

“Make the requirements harder,” said 18-year-old senior Mohammed Abdelsalam. “Make the requirements harder because an 18-year-old or a 19-year-old shouldn’t be able to have an assault rifle.”

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz was arrested in connection with the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. He’s accused of using an assault-style rifle to kill students and staff.

Lakewood junior Rebecca Parth helped organize the protest, which she said grew organically overnight through social media. Despite not being old enough to vote, the 17-year-old said she wanted her fellow students’ voices to be heard.

“I think it should be the representatives listening to the people, but in order for that to happen, the people have to speak first,” Parth said. “So, we just need to scream loud enough until the representatives listen.”

Parth said the effort was supported by the faculty at Lakewood High School, located in a suburb on the west side of Cleveland.

Student Sean O’Neal, 17, says it’s not the first school shooting and not enough has been done to stop them.

“The Florida deaths alone were too much. That coupled with all previous school shootings, which there’s not too much done about it, it’s baffling,” he said. “It’s just too much death for no reason.”

Protests also took place on school campuses in Westlake, Mentor and Willoughby, as well as schools near Cincinnati and around Columbus.

Some 300 students at Upper Arlington High School, plus more at Grove City High School, held demonstrations on Wednesday. Another 100 students at Dayton Regional STEM school staged a walkout, as well.

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.