Kendra Baker photos
Students and staff gathered outside the main entrance of Wilton High School on March 14 at 10 a.m. for a 17-minute, student-led walkout to honor the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Walkout participants were encouraged to wear orange, the color of solidarity against gun violence; and at least four Wilton police officers were present.

Wilton High School senior and walkout organizer Emily Kesselman said the walkout was not only to show solidarity with those killed at Stoneman Douglas — it was also a message that “our generation is done with gun violence and done feeling unsafe in our own schools.”

“Though this mass shooting happened 1,000 miles south of us,” Emily said, she and others at Wilton High School wanted to “take [a] few moments to demonstrate how close to home this tragedy really is.”

Seventeen Wilton High School students were invited to briefly introduce themselves and then introduce one of the 17 Parkland victims to show how they were, as Emily put it, “just like us.” After each victim’s name and description came a moment of silence.

https://youtu.be/LeFd1tNqyw8

“The students and teachers whose lives we’ve commemorated today weren’t from our community, but the point is that we are the same,” said Wilton High School senior and student body president Cameron Berg, who encouraged his peers to channel their “frustration, anger, impatience and sadness” into “courage, persistence and knowledge.”

Cameron said it’s “the responsibility of every individual student in this community to formulate a coherent position on gun laws and on school safety.”

There are “a wide range of respectable standpoints,” he said, “but ‘I don’t know’ can no longer be one of them.”

While he and his peers can’t “immediately change laws surrounding safety in school,” said Cameron, “we could, however, in this moment, today, choose to make Wilton High School a more caring, kind and compassionate community, if we so choose.”

“That choice is not ours,” he said, “it’s yours.”

After the walkout, everyone returned back to their third-period class and resumed the school day.

Although the Wilton High School walkout was “organized completely independently,” said Emily, and was “not directly affiliated” with any groups, thousands of schools nationwide also participated in walkouts on March 14 as part of the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group’s #ENOUGH: National School Walkout initiative.