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LEHI — Not all students participated in Wednesday’s nationwide walkout. It’s not that they didn’t want to honor the Florida victims of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. It was rather the opportunity to express a different point of view.
While their fellow students were outside, 10th graders Ian Herbert, Joshua Barney and Jenna Jester sat at a table inside Skyridge High School with a banner that read: “I’m pro-gun. Change my mind.”
“I was surprised because I was expecting quite a few arguments,” Herbert said. “But most people came up and said what you’re doing is awesome and congratulated me.”
He also passed out a couple dozen homemade buttons with sayings promoting the Second Amendment.
“I’ve grown up with guns. I’ve shot many guns. I’ve hunted,” Herbert said.
Classmate Joshua Barney added, “My father owns a rifle and it put food on the table last year.”
At Provo’s Timpview High School, the majority of students stayed inside, only a couple hundred participated in the 17-minute walkout.
“I felt like I did this because not everyone has the same opinion,” said student Steven Lakes. “We don’t believe that taking away guns is the answer. People who want guns are going to get them.”
Students throughout Utah stayed indoors for a variety of reasons. Ninth-grader Elizabeth Busdicker at South Davis Junior High jokingly texted that she was one of the very few who stayed inside. She also took a photo of a classmate, who decided to take a quick nap.
Local walkouts coverage:
At Cedar City Middle School, instead of walking out, students wrote letters to lawmakers and to fellow students who might feel excluded by others during their school days.
Students said the bottom line for them is to keep the conversation going — about guns and school safety.
”I just hope that more people, they just look at the other side and maybe consider it,” Herbert said.
“I don’t want people to say there was a walkout today protesting guns,” Lakes said. “I want people to say there were two things going on: there were people who walked out who were protesting guns, and there were those who stayed inside who have their own opinion.”