The 13th name was Meadow Pollack.
Four more names were read and signed by an interpreter, one every minute. Students were completely silent as the names were read. Some students were crying, some holding hands, some stood with heads solemnly bowed as one by one, the names of the 17 who died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida a month earlier, were spoken.
Students inside looked on from windows as 242 Mountain View High School students walked out of the Orem school at 10 a.m. Wednesday for 17 minutes to represent the 17 people who were killed in the Parkland school shooting, signaling a call for an end to gun violence and demand action from Congress on gun control.
“We didn’t expect this many people,” said Desi Crane, a junior who organized the walkout.
Walkouts were scheduled at schools across Utah County and the country Wednesday as part of the ENOUGH: National School Walkout from the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER.
The issue is personal for Mountain View High School students. Five students were injured in a stabbing in a male locker room in 2016 at the school, and students have been left to dread what could have happened if the attacker had a gun.
“It was about guns,” said Elizabeth Vogel, a junior who walked out of school Wednesday. “And part of the reason was it could be worse if it was a gun.”
Jeniel Zimmerman, a junior who participated in the walkout, was in the female locker room during the stabbing and said she would have been killed in the attack if the stabber had a gun.
Wednesday, she said she was proud — and shocked — by the turnout.
“Some kids, based on conversations, I didn’t expect to be here,” Jeniel said. “It was amazing to me how much support we got.”
At Westlake High School, where a walkout was also scheduled, students were encouraged to “walk up” instead of walk out. Plans for the walk up included encouraging students to approach 14 students and three teachers and thank them or reach out to them.
But the two events, Vogel said, can work together. She believes a walkout is more effective than a walk up, but said students should do what they’re comfortable with.
“I’ll probably do a walk up today,” Vogel said.
David H. Smith, principal of Mountain View High School, stood outside during the student-led walkout.
“My feeling on it is it’s the students’ event and I want them to be safe,” Smith said.
He said the school’s schedule was tweaked so students wouldn’t miss instruction time if they walked out, and teachers would not mark students absent for participating in the walkout.
School districts across Utah County announced before the walkout that normal attendance procedures would be followed, which meant students would need to be excused from class from a parent to avoid being marked absent.
Teachers and community members were present to support the students. Emily Konold, whose nephew goes to Mountain View High School, held a sign that said “Not. One. More.” She also brought Abby Booth, who attends Pleasant Grove Junior High School, to Mountain View High School for the walkout because there wasn’t one scheduled for her own school.
“It’s important, and young people’s voices matter,” Abby said.
She brought a sign, which read “Guns don’t kill people. Umm… yes they do!”