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Syracuse high school students protest gun violence as part of National Walkout Day

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Nottingham High School students at an event honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting.

High school students in Syracuse are calling for more gun control in solidarity with student walkouts across the country to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Ana Kreidler-Siwinski is a junior at Nottingham High School and helped organize a rally in the school’s gymnasium.

"I believe we shouldn’t stand by and be silent," Kreidler-Siwinski said. "Better late than never. Gun laws should be stricter in the future. If there were less easy ways for people with mental illnesses to grab guns, people with criminal records, then it would be better for society."

Students read the names and brief descriptions of the 17 victims of Parkland. They also mentioned Syracuse’s homicide victims. James Dixon, a junior at Nottingham, said that hit home for some students who may have had some of those victims in their families.

“I think the event today was very powerful, very moving," Dixon said. "We got a lot of our students to come out today. We just want all of our students to know that everyone here has a voice and we’re not going to let the situation die down."

Syracuse Superintendent Jaime Alicea said the school and the district wanted to give students the opportunity to talk about the issue of gun violence.

“We know that it’s happening in the United States and we can be blind to it," Alicea said. "We need to listen to our kids, communicate with them. By doing this event, it gives them the opportunity for them to trust we’re with them and listening to them.”

Other school districts in the region, like Fayetteville-Manlius, approved of students exercising their First Amendment rights, but did not support students walking out of schools.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.