By Dillon Thomas
THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Middle school students in Thornton have organized a walkout on Wednesday after the students decided to participate in a national walkout.
The walkouts are in solidarity for those killed in the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Students have planned to walk out of schools across the country at 10 a.m. in each time zone.
Eighth graders Isabella Brettillo and Lourdes Cardamone told CBS4 they wanted to participate in the national movement at their school, Rocky Top Middle School in Thornton.
That’s why they organized a walkout and ran it by their school administrators.
“I think that anybody at any age can still have an opinion,” Brettillo said.
In order to follow closed-campus rules, participating students at Rocky Top will walkout of classes, and will make their way to the track, which is on campus.
“We are going to have a couple moments of silence, and then we are going to march around the track at our school,” Cardamone said.
The two teenagers told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas they were inspired to organize the walkout after seeing coverage of the Florida shooting on social media.
“I knew that other people were going to be scared to walk in to school that day when they were about to learn. That was not fair to anyone,” Brettillo said.
Brettillo and Cardamone said they planned to write Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner a letter, following the walkout. They said they planned to ask for more thorough background checks and possibly an increase in the legal age to purchase a firearm.
“Next (school) year, we are going to (be among high school) students that can get a gun as an 18-year-old,” Brettillo said.
Parents of the organizers said they were impressed to hear their children were taking the steps necessary to exercise their first amendment rights, while also respecting school authority.
“This is all lead by them. They actually contacted the principal on their own, before they told us,” said Dominique Cardamone, Lourdes’ mother.
“(Gun control) is a dominant part of their conversation, because it is part of their life,” said Valarie Langston-Brettillo, Isabella’s mother.
Adams 12 Five Star Schools told CBS4 they would enforce their regular attendance policy during the walkout. Anyone who wished to participate, without an attendance violation, was required to be checked out of class by a parent.
While Brettillo and Cardamone planned the walkout, they also encouraged others their age to take action to end school violence, even if it isn’t by walking out of class.
“It doesn’t have to be super-big, getting your whole school involved, and walking out,” Cardamone said. “There (are) other things like if you see someone getting bullied, stick up for them.”
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.