Sophia Ogle-Garza recalls frantically piling into a car along with nine of her friends after a shooter threat at her homecoming dance last year.
“That was the most horrifying moment of my life thinking that we could be in the news,” the Lovejoy High sophomore said. “We could be next. That could be us on TV.”
Hundreds of students across Texas walked out of their schools on Thursday to protest against gun violence. The statewide action comes less than a week after the mass shooting in Allen.
The feeling of dread returned this week for Ogle-Garza, 16, after she learned about the mass shooting that took place about five miles away from her campus.
A gunman killed eight people and wounded seven others during an attack at Allen Premium Outlets on Saturday.
Students at nearby Allen High School also walked out, some wearing shirts urging for policy and change instead of “thoughts and prayers” and carrying signs reading “stop the violence.”
Students Demand Action, part of Everytown’s gun violence prevention efforts, urged Texas students to use their voice and insist lawmakers take steps to prevent any more mass shootings, according to a toolkit shared by the organization.
“Texas lawmakers have done nothing but gut gun safety laws, putting gun industry profits ahead of the safety of our children,” the toolkit reads. “We shouldn’t have to fear for our lives at every moment. We deserve more.”
Thursday’s protests came nearly a year after the deadly Uvalde school massacre in which 19 children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting.
Lovejoy students took turns speaking into a megaphone and held posters that read, “I should worry about finals, not my life,” “I was shopping for clothes, not bullets,” and “I should be in school, but instead I’m asking not to get shot.”
Lyn Jones, a freshman at Lovejoy, wore a shirt that read “protect kids not guns.” She said it’s “disheartening” to have to fight for these issues.
“We’re asking not to be killed. We’re asking for our neighbors not to get shot. We’re asking for safety, for teachers not to have to carry guns,” Jones, 15, said.
Almost immediately after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas’ Republican leadership began advocating for arming more teachers to bolster school safety.
Fort Worth ISD administrators discouraged the district’s students from participating in the walkouts in a Facebook post due to safety concerns.
In San Antonio, students walked up to city hall calling for lawmakers to vote for a bill that would raise the age limit on semi-automatic rifle purchases from 18 to 21.
A Texas bill on raising the age was voted out of a legislative committee this week but efforts to move forward such legislation appeared stalled in the House on Thursday.
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