DENVER (KDVR) — Thousands of students walked out of school on Wednesday to oppose gun violence, not only in Colorado schools but across the country.

In the Denver metro area, 10 schools participated in walkouts organized by a group called Students Demand Action. The organization said 30 schools across Colorado held walkouts.

The student action comes in the wake of the school shootings in Denver and around the U.S.

Students at George Washington High School marched around their campus as part of their efforts to say gun violence has got to stop.

“We should not have to be here today, and unfortunately, we are, because gun violence has not stopped,” George Washington High School senior Solana Blakely said.

After a deadly shooting outside East High School and another on campus that wounded two administrators, students said school resource officers are not enough. They said violent students should not be allowed in classrooms with the rest of the student body.

“There are better initiatives in terms of outpatient care for situations like that … that are safer for the student body,” George Washington High School senior Lila Mouchantat said.

Aerial shot of dozens of teens lying on the ground of the Colorado Capitol
Students stage a die-in at the Colorado Capitol on April 5, 2023 (Credit: Vince Chandler)

Students worry of inaction on gun violence

There were also walkouts at the STEM School Highlands Ranch — the site of a deadly shooting in 2019 — as well as Lakewood High, Wheat Ridge High and the American Indian Academy.

Students also staged a die-in at the Colorado Capitol, demanding — and getting — an audience with Gov. Jared Polis. (Watch here.)

But some students fear nothing more will be done to protect schools.

“We as a society are scared of change because we know that we are used to this,” George Washington High School sophomore Nicolas Bilano said.

Several school districts said they encourage students to voice concerns. 

Denver Public Schools says students are marked absent if they are not in class, but parents can call the district and excuse the absence. The Cherry Creek School District said its students were not penalized during the walkouts.

Bilano said he plans to participate in future marches, saying it may not help, but it’s the least he can do. The marches in Colorado and across the country were partly organized by Students Demand Action.