Days before planned walkouts at thousands of schools across the country, students in the Bangor area say they want lawmakers to take action to prevent school shootings.
Students from Orono and Bangor held a press conference at the Bangor Public Library on Monday to say why they were protesting.
“Our government’s inaction on the issue of gun violence in schools is unacceptable,” said Emma O’Connor, a senior at John Bapst in Bangor. “We will be relentless in our efforts until meaningful changes have been made to ensure our safety.”
Other students said they wanted lawmakers to pass policies to close background check loopholes and limit the sales of certain kinds of weapons.
Orono High School student Jessie Walker says she hopes the walkouts send a message to adults.
“Raising awareness surrounding issues like mental health,” she says. “And surrounding other issues that are facing teenagers, and therefore are impacting us in our communities.”
More than 40 similar walkouts are planned for Wednesday morning at high schools across Maine. The protests come a month after 17 people were shot and killed by a 19-year-old gunman at a Florida high school.
Some Maine districts have said that they’ll punish any students who protest during school hours. However, others say they’ll allow the walkouts, with some even arranging assemblies and discussions between lawmakers and students.
This story was originally posted March 12, 2018 at 4:42 p.m. ET.
Education reporting on Maine Public Radio is supported by a grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.