Beloit student walkout focuses on honoring Florida victims, comi - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Beloit student walkout focuses on honoring Florida victims, coming together

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BELOIT (WKOW) -- Beloit Memorial High School students joined a nationwide school walkout to support the victims of a mass shooting at a school in Florida. 

The walkout marks one month since the attack that killed 17 students and educators. Many rallies around the nation focused on gun violence, but the students in Beloit came together not to focus on politics, but to pay tribute to the victims. 

"It's just to honor them, because they didn't deserve to pass away in such manner," said Evelyn Mendoza, a senior at BMHS. "That was just the whole purpose of the event, just to show honor and respect, because those kids could have been any one of us."

School officials say they were supportive of the effort and arranged an assembly during the walkout in the high school stadium. About half the students, around 800, walked out. The others stayed in class with their teachers.

Junior class president Lakya Jackson read a poem she wrote about the many drills she's done over her time in school, and the fear during those rehearsals of a possible tragedy. 

"You have to warn these kids that it's a drill otherwise they start having anxiety attacks in the corners. It's that bad," Jackson told 27 News. "It's really sad and hopefully one day we'll establish some laws or set forth some rules that'll hopefully abolish the whole issue."

The schools practice planned lockdown drills twice a year and do periodic soft lockdowns. Principal Carole Campbell says students are taking the drills more seriously than before, since the Florida shooting. 

"They are feeling united right now in these efforts to keep each other safe," Campbell told 27 News. "We've emphasized if you see it, say it, if you hear it, say it, if you know it, let us know."

The student leaders say they hope the walkout assembly helped empower their classmates to come together and focus on their future. 

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