Students at the Olentangy Local School District's three high schools braved subfreezing temperatures to honor the 17 people killed in a recent school shooting in Florida.
A gunman Feb. 14 killed 17 and wounded more than a dozen people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The tragedy led to renewed debates about gun control and school-security measures throughout the country.
More than 100 students at 10 a.m. March 14 left the building at Olentangy Liberty High School for 17 minutes. At the same time, walkouts were proceeding at Olentangy High School, Orange High School and throughout the country.
Nathan McCallum, the junior who organized the walkout at Liberty, said he was "in shock" after seeing the number of students who joined him. He said he hoped the event would lead to discussions about how to make schools safer.
"Change would be awesome," he said. "Just this alone, seeing everyone united together obviously wanting change is a step in the right direction."
McCallum said the events in Parkland already have created positive momentum within his school. He said the day before the walkout, hundreds of students met to discuss mental-health awareness and ideas about how the social environment at Liberty could improve.
"It begins with all of us sharing ideas and creating a different culture of love, unity and acceptance," he said.
Courtney Hull, a junior at Liberty, said many of the students who took part in the walkout have differing views about what changes need to be made. She said that's OK with her.
"For me personally, today is about remembering the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting, remembering the survivors and calling for some sort of gun-control change," she said. "It's too easy for (students) to be victimized."
Even if the walkouts do not lead to any new legislation in the short term, Hull said she thinks students who participated will continue to push for change as adults.
"We will remember this day," she said.