Hundreds of Rockford Public Schools students participated in Wednesday's National Walk Out Day.
The event started at 10 a.m. and lasted 17 minutes, to honor the 17 lives lost in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
13 News had reporters positioned at Auburn, Guilford and East high schools. Many students held signs calling for more gun control, while others chanted, and the majority pressed lawmakers for stricter laws.
The walk out remained peaceful, and students went back inside after the 17 minutes.
RPS 205 students spoke to 13 WREX on Tuesday, saying they're speaking out because so many people no longer can because of gun violence. They say their hope is those in control will hear them, and push for stricter gun laws and measures that they say will keep them safe.
"We're doing this so we can use our voices," says Rockford East Junior Simon Davis. "That's what it's about. Using our voices to be heard and hopefully make a difference."
"We're students, we're the ones affected by it," says Rockford East Senior Alondra Lavariega. "At the end of the day we're the ones with the fear. If we don't speak up now, when will we get the chance again?"
"I feel like that's the issue people need to talk about it, people need to be inspired to do something about it," says East senior Rachell Alvarado. "If lives being taken isn't enough then what's going to do it?"
13 News has reached out multiple times requesting an interview with RPS 205 Superintendent Ehren Jarrett, however he would not go on camera. Instead, the school released this statement Monday:
"Rockford Public Schools building principals continue to measure students' interest in Wednesday's walkout. As an educational institution, we want our students to remain in the classroom. That said, we know students' voices are powerful. We are encouraging our students to voice their concerns in other ways, such as writing letters to legislators, inviting guest speakers or supporting local efforts tied to the March 24 event in Washington D.C., which is outside of regular school hours.
Administrators have plans in place to ensure students remain safe if they choose to participate. Each school's administrative team is responsible for any disciplinary issues that may arise from this event. Parents and students are encouraged to contact their building principal with questions or concerns."