MAPLEWOOD, Mo. – Despite a colder and damper day, students made their way outdoors to the Maplewood Richmond Heights High School and the middle school athletic field. At noon on Wednesday, a group gathered and took part in a nationwide coordinated show of solidarity.

“Gun violence is really important to me that we are aware of this violence, and we do something to change it,” said Odessa Javier, a student organizer. “I reached out to my administrators, and we had a meeting, and gave me their full support, and here we are.”

From Wentzville to Washington, D.C., students are taking part in a national walkout against gun violence. After the recent school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, student leaders approached the principal about their desire to do something and participate.

“I was glad,” said Dr. Kevin Grawer, principal of Maplewood Richmond Heights High School. “That’s what we pride ourselves here, student’s voice matter to us. When they come to us with something, there’s usually something behind it. So, we listened and they had great ideas. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we’ve done this. This is the fourth or fifth time. We’ve had some experience doing this, but it was them. It was their ideas and their planning. I listened, I took notes, I added my two cents, but they did it.”

Administrators from the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District and the Board of Education were there as the students displayed statistics about gun violence, paid tribute to the victims’ families, held a moment of silence, and asked lawmakers to take action.

“Missouri is one of the worst states when it comes to gun laws,” Javier said. “We have such loose ones and that affect everyone around us. You see these mass shootings all over the television, you know, all these lives lost, and we still have not done nothing. We need to reach out to our lawmakers, and we need to stay angry about this until we see some change.”