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Education

Buffalo students protest gun violence on national walk-out day

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Buffalo Public students at the Leonardo Da Vinci High School participated in the national 'walk-out' against gun violence. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says students held a peaceful and respectful protest to send a message to congress.  

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WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says students held a peaceful and respectful protests to send a message to congress.

“How many more? How many more?” chanted Da Vinci students Wednesday morning.  

Just under 400 Da Vinci High School students walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. escorted by their principal. 

They left their building on Porter Avenue on the City's west side and walk around the entire block.   

Da Vinci junior Madeline Rivera said it was important to honor those who died in Parkland and to spread awareness of the complexity of these school shootings.  

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Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News
Buffalo Public students at the Leonardo Da Vinci High School participated in the national 'walk-out' against gun violence.

“There’s many different parts to it – mental illness is involved, constitutional rights and gun violence – these are all things our county is struggling with,” Rivera explained.

Rivera calls on U.S. lawmakers to review gun policies.

“There’s an amendment called the Dickey Amendment that actually makes it so the federal government can’t unbiasedly research gun violence, so we need to change things like that so we can research it and stop it,” declared Rivera. 

The Da Vinci students said they will continue to participate in the movement. 

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Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News
Da Vinci junior Madeline Rivera honors those who died in Parkland and to spread awareness of the complexity of these school shootings.

Da Vinci Principal Greg Lodinsky tells WBFO News nearly 400-of his students participated.

"I know I only received three notices from parents wishing that their student would not participate,” said Lodinsky. “I would say out of a student body of 400, we probably had less than 15 or 20 that elected to stay back, the rest of them were outside, in the snow chanting and making their voices heard.” 

The Da Vinci principal led the students for a march around the entire block of their school building on Porter Avenue on the west side.

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Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News
Da Vinci Principal Greg Lodinsky.

“We’re you worried at all, having them walk around the perimeter of the building – that there was any sense someone could take an advantage of that and make them a target?” asked Buckley.

“I suppose anytime you’re taking a stand and walking out in public there’s an opportunity to have any manner of push-back – that was a concern. I did inform the Buffalo Police and the district about our activities here today, but I have to say, knowing the Buffalo community as I do, that I felt secure the students would be safe walking around the block during our peace march.”

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Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News
Buffalo Police were outside Da Vinci during the walk-out.

Buffalo Police kept a close watch to ensure student safety and reported no incidents or arrests.

Hundreds of students could also be seen outside suburban schools including Williamsville South High School, Sacred Heart Academy and Clarence High School. 

WBFO was among a few broadcast news outlets that were not permitted on the grounds of Clarence High School during that student walkout. Hundreds could be seen gathering on the school's football field, where they marched and observed a moment of silence for the 17 victims of last month's Florida shootings.

(video below courtesy of @theCHSwalkout on Twitter): 

Our age won't stop us. Our politicians won't stop us. And most of all snow won't stop us. Thank you to everyone who participated. #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/LiXOtT6gsB — Clarence Walkout (@theCHSWalkout) March 14, 2018

Other schools, specifically parochial schools, held prayer vigils during the 17-minute period. 

WBFO's Michael Mroziak contributed to this report.

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