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Santa Fe High students commemorate Florida shooting victims

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About 250 Santa Fe High students observe a moment of silence during a walk out to protest gun violence in the wake of the shooting at a Florida school last month in which 17 people were killed. The school granted permission for the students to leave class for 17 minutes Wednesday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — Joy Farkas was in the middle of writing “#ENOUGH” in chalk on the concrete at Santa Fe High’s plaza Wednesday morning when she took a moment to talk about her views on guns and school safety.

She was one of about 250 students at the school who left class, with permission, to protest against gun violence and to remember the 17 people who were killed by a gunman at a Florida high school last month. The protest was nationwide, with similar demonstration at schools across the country. Several other events were held at Santa Fe schools.

Farkas said “#ENOUGH,” a social media hashtag used for Wednesday’s national movement, represents her frustration that some adults, whether they be politicians or otherwise, seem to care more about guns than student safety.

“We are sick and tired of being unsafe and dying in our schools while they protect something that to them is more valuable than human life,” Farkas, a junior, told the Journal.

“They have done nothing so far. They are in the process of doing stuff, but these call have come up before, and they didn’t do anything then. So it’s our turn to change the world by making sure this does not die out. We are sick and tired of them doing nothing for us, so we’re going to do it for us.”

Students were allowed to walk out of class at 10 a.m. and go to the school plaza for 17 minutes — one minute for each victim at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Fla. last month — if they wanted to participate. The arrangement was a compromise, after some students had planned to walk off campus in protest.

Several students began passing around chalk and covered the plaza pavement with sayings like “No more gun violence.”

Senior Sophie Colson got on a microphone and told everyone to sit down and observe a moment of silence for the Parkland victims. Balloons were released, but some were popped or got stuck in a nearby tree. The crowd applauded when Colson freed the stuck balloons.

“We decided a good compromise was to walk out on our plaza because the message is strongest here where our school is,” Colson said. “We are trying to do everything we can to be listened to and respected.”

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