PARKLAND, Florida - Exactly one month ago, a gunman opened fire at a Parkland, Florida high school. He may have been exercising his own demons, but students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have been exercising their 1st Amendment rights ever since, speaking out in favor of new gun control measures.
"It doesn't just have to stop with us," said MSD student Kai Koerber. "We're the stepping stone for a much greater purpose."
Wednesday's activities were proof the Parkland survivors are not alone. At 10 a.m. in every time zone, students got up and walked out of school to call for change using #NeverAgain. The national student-led protest was an unprecedented show of solidarity.
From Oregon to Colorado, Georgia to Wisconsin, Maryland to Missouri, and every state in between -- even in Israel and Tanzania -- the walkouts lasted 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland massacre.
"It feels so good that so many people are supporting us," said student walkout organizer Susana Matta Valdivieso.
"We really think it's important that students, especially teenagers, get out there and really fight for what's right because this is our time," said David Ilouz, an 11th grader at the Emery/Weiner School in Houston.
Classmate Julia Leibman added, "We need to really say 'enough is enough' and mean it."
For Stuart Dow, the head of school, approving the students' request to join the 3,000 other schools across the country was a no-brainer.
"They're not even adults yet, but here they are, they're leading a sense of consciousness on what I think is a really important issue. I just think it's fantastic."
In two weeks, there will be a another student protest in D.C. called "March for our Lives." Parkland, Florida teens will be joined by others from across the country, including 30 from Houston's Emery/Weiner school.
"Those in the federal government have not done enough to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen and so it is up to us now," said Ilouz.
For student activists trying to prevent another shooting, this is not a game. Even so, think of the walkout as just a warm-up.