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Buffalo parents & community groups support planned student protest against gun violence

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Students across Western New York are expected participate in a national walk-out Wednesday at 10 a.m. to protest gun violence. Students will hold a 17-minute demonstration to honor the 17-killed in the Parkland, Florida shootings one month ago. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says several groups stood together in solidarity in full-support of Buffalo Public school students who join the nation-wide protest.

“Gun violence is a public health issue in the United States - U.S. guns kill about 38,000 people every year and injure 85,000 more,” stated Jessica Baurer Walker, school parent and executive director of the Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo.  

Buffalo school parents, community groups and anti-gun violence advocates said  they want city school students to know they support their participation in Wednesfay “walk-out."

Walker’s organization has been fighting against gun violence for a long-time, but she said  the issue is in the forefront...

"We're sorry that 17-more innocent lives were lost to get attention ... we've been fighting, we'll keep fighting, but something will happen,” declared Walker.

Plans are in place for students to participate at Bennett High School, Olmsted School 156, Leonardo da Vinci High School and the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.

“These are student led -- student driven walk-outs. The students and leaders of these schools -- who are supporting their students -- deserve much praise,” said Larry Scott, co-chair of Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization.

Scott said he's "incredibly inspired" by the youth movement against gun violence.    

Vivian Ojumu said her grandson attends Bennett, where last week a threat was made to the school. 

“A school is supposed to be a safe place. Where else can they go besides home to be safe,” Ojumu remarked.

All students are encouraged to participate, but elementary students won't be allowed to leave school buildings. City school parent Keith Jones is ensuring there will be Buffalo Police and school security watching over students.

”So this is going to be a secure effort,” Jones explained.    

Olmsted high school students will walk-out to the front of their school and da Vinci students will walk around the entire block of their school

Here are what some other schools in the Western Nre York region are planning:    

East Aurora High School students will walk out of class and meet in the school’s gym. They are also conducting a letter writing campaign to congressman & senators. 


Niagara Falls City High School students will be allowed to walk outside to the entrance area of their school.


Lewiston-Porter High School  students will hold a walk-in and report to the school’s auditorium.  


Clarence Central High School students will walk out, and  also pass out voter registration forms, petitions and contact information for Congressman Chris Collins.  


Kenmore West High Schools students will walk out of classes and go to their school auditorium. Students are being asked to stay inside the building to ensure their safety.  


Orchard Park Central Schools students wishing to join demonstration are asked to head to the gym at 9:55 Wednesday. Students who walk out of school will be “bound” by the district code of conduct.


Batavia High School students will walk outside for 17-minutes. 


Students at Canisius High School in Buffalo will also have the option of joining the national walkout. Students will gather at 10 a.m. in the school’s Kennedy Field House for a prayer service. Students will then return to homerooms where they will have the opportunity to write letters of condolence and support to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community in Parkland.  Canisius students are also encouraged to wear the Stoneman Douglas school colors on Wednesday as a show of support.

Student leaders at St. Josephs Colligate Institute approached faculty and administration with the idea of holding a 17-minute prayer service beginning at 10 a.m.