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Around 20 Estacada High students take part in 17-minute walkout in wake of Florida shooting

Approximately 20 students from Estacada High School joined students across the country today in a walkout to protest continued gun violence in schools.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, students stood outside for 17 minutes to honor 14 students and three adults killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., exactly one month after the incident.

Estacada High School senior Jeffrey Lippert said he participated in the walkout because "It's just been happening too much."

"Doing something on such a small scale seems insignificant, but anything helps," he said.

For some, the issue hits close to home.

"I know people both directly and indirectly affected (by the shooting in Parkland). My friend's cousin went to the same school in Florida and had friends affected," said sophomore Kayden Dodd.

Several students added that respect for those who lost their lives because of shootings was their most significant priority in walking out.

"It's not about gun control. It's about respect for the lives of the 17 (killed in Parkland) and their families," said Rachel Slaughter, a freshman.

"The most respectful thing we can do is stand here in silence," added freshman Alexis Mendoza.

In a letter sent out to families, Estacada School District leaders stated that "While we cannot sponsor student protests, we understand that student leaders may choose to organize a local school walkout in coordination with national events."

The letter also noted that students are "not obligated, encouraged, or discouraged from participation." Students who participated in the walkout were marked absent or tardy in accordance with the district's attendance policy.

Students at Estacada High School and Estacada Middle School were also able to observe a 17-second silence to honor victims of the Parkland shooting. At the elementary level, classes focused on kindness and ways to take care of friends.

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