LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– A Lakewood High School student is organizing a student walkout in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Florida.
Avril Menting, a 14-year-old freshman, is encouraging her classmates to take part in the National School Walkout movement. The walkout is planned for March 14, one month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
“We want real change,” Menting told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “We don’t want thoughts and prayers, because when an active shooter comes into my classroom at some point, I’m not going to whip out those thoughts and prayers to save my life.”
Menting said similar to the other walkouts planned around the country, students will leave their classroom for 17 minutes – one minute for each of the Parkland victims. She is talking with her peers to remind them this isn’t an opportunity to skip class, rather honor the lives lost and call for change.
“People are dying. People will continue to die if our laws don’t change,” she said. “We need to make sure that we do that because nobody else is going to.”
Stricter gun laws is what Menting would like to see change, but she knows that’s an uphill battle.
“I’m not against all guns,” she said. “I am against assault rifles, like AR 15s and AK 47s. Those should be strictly military grade and they should not be in the hands of citizens.”
The student-driven movement, she explained, shows America’s youth is fed up with fearing for their lives in a place they should feel safe, and the government not taking enough action to protect them.
“Do you feel safe at your school?” Werthmann asked.
“The recent shooting has definitely made me more nervous to go to school,” Menting replied. “To have active shooter drills at schools is not okay. We definitely don’t need to be worried about that and our parents shouldn’t be worrying if we’re going to make it home that afternoon from school.”
Menting may be too young to vote now, but she said she is the voice of the future just like the other students taking action around the nation.
“I can do everything I can to get the laws changed so that my school environment is a safer place,” she said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.