March for Our Lives: Sacramento Students to Join Nationwide Walkouts

SACRAMENTO -- Wednesday will mark one month since stark images were seared into the American psyche of frightened teens forever changed after watching their friends gunned down around them on their Florida campus.

"It's time to get the talking heads to zip it and let the people who are actually experiencing these situations lead the debate and lead the national consciousness because they know what happened. They know the fear of a school shooting," said Maya Steinhart, a junior at Sacramento's McClatchy High School and a member of the student council there.

Stepping through the fear of their Parkland peers and some they shared after threats made at their own school, students like Steinhart are among hundreds in California who will leave class Wednesday to honor the lives lost.

Students across the nation will walk out for 17 minutes, one minute each for the 17 lives lost to gun violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen minutes to demand that laws governing guns change.

Steinhart says California's laws should be an example.

"Sway the national focus toward seeing these kinds of strict gun laws as something that can balance student and community safety with constitutional rights," Steinhart said. "We don't have gun bans, we have gun reforms and assault rifle reforms."

In Elk Grove, elementary students through high schoolers are participating all in their own way, from organized art projects to a walk around campus in two cases. Parents have signed off on those.

The number one focus is on kids staying on campus for student safety.

"It's an activity that could be volunteer," said Xanthi Pinkerton, EGUSD spokesperson. "If they want to participate they may. If they want to stay in class and take a moment of silence, they can, or if they want to just be in class and not want to be civically involved, they have that opportunity as well."

Organizers at McClatchy say efforts to leave campus or create a disturbance will not be supported.

"We don't want to keep students out of class longer than we need to 'cause a big part of this movement is school is too important to be lost because of the fear of gun violence," Steinhart said. "So we'll take the time out of our class day to make the point we want to make, but then we're going back to class because our education is too important to be missed out on."

Steinhart and other students will walk out of class at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

They will gather in front of McClatchy where there will be a display of 17 empty desks, one for each of the Parkland students killed.

"Regardless of your stance on gun rights in general, if our streets and our schools can be a little safer, why not do that?" Steinhart said.