Thousands of students staged walkouts at schools and college campuses across the country Thursday to demand stricter gun control in the wake of the Texas school massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
Starting at noon (ET), waves of students — some wearing orange, which is the color of the gun violence prevention movement — abandoned their classes and headed outside to protest, often accompanied by their teachers and cheered on by their parents.
“I think there is something so devastating about 10-year-olds being killed, and students across the country are realizing this could have been any of us,” said Maddie Ahmadi, a 17-year-old junior at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont.
Outside Los Angeles, more than 150 students at Crescenta Valley High School walked out their classes at noon.
“Unfortunately this has not been the first time we students have been forced to act,” said 17-year-old senior Roan Thibault, who remembered being in middle school the first time he took part in a walkout to demand more gun control after the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“It’s a shame lawmakers have not been listening to us,” he said. “Two years ago there was a threat at my high school which turned out to be nothing. But for many of us it was the most frightening moment of our lives.”
The nationwide protests were organized by a group called Students Demand Action, which is affiliated with the pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.
“Enough is enough,” the students group said on the internet “toolkit” it used to organize the nationwide protests. “Once again, gun violence has forced its way into our schools…We need more than thoughts and prayers. We demand action from our lawmakers now.”
On its website, the student group noted that gun violence was the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.