More than 1,200 Middletown High School students quietly watched a solemn ceremony this morning as students honored the 17 shooting victims from last month’s school massacre in Florida.
The ceremony, which was created and performed by students, was among many held around the area - and nation - as part the National Walk Out designed to both commemorate the tragic deaths of 17 students and staffers killed by a gun man in Parkland, Fla. and protest the growing threat of gun violence in America’s schools.
On the gym were 17 students, each standing and holding an enlarged photo of one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims. The Middletown students read a short bio on the dead student, then sat down on the court of the Wade E. Miller Arena.
When they were all done, the 17 students then laid down on the floor to symbolize the ending of the young lives at the hands of the gun man.
“It was all them (students). They planned this and they came up with how they wanted to honor the students that lost their lives so tragically,” said Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter.
Across Butler and Warren counties - and throughout the nation - similar scenes were repeated this morning.
Some high schools saw different ceremonies or demonstrations where students, with school officials’ permission, walked out on to school grounds to hold their events and protests.
At Warren County’s largest school system, Mason High School, students walked into a gym, many locking arms in solidarity.
“The students were respectful, organized, and motivated,” said Mason Schools Spokeswoman Tracey Carson.
“Students took a moment of silence to honor the victims, heard from a classmate who attended Sandy Hook Elementary at the time of the Newtown tragedy, posted post-its about why they walk, and linked arms together. As a district, we had extra law enforcement presence at all of our schools today, and were able to accommodate the students’ actions safely,” said Carson.
Stay with this news outlet for stories, photos and video about today’s events.