Ballard High students.
Ballard High students. Sydney Brownstone

This morning at 10 am local time, students across Seattle and the nation are walking out of class for 17 minutes—one minute to mark each person murdered in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, one month ago today.

The walkouts will honor the victims and call for lawmakers to strengthen gun safety laws. In Seattle, students at multiple schools are planning to walk out. Nationwide, nearly 3,000 walkouts were planned. They've already happened on the East Coast.

This year in the Democratically controlled Washington State Legislature, lawmakers banned bump stocks and limited access to guns for people who've been convicted of harassment with a domestic violence motivation. But lawmakers failed to expand background checks and raise the age of purchase for semi-automatic rifles.

Sydney Brownstone spent yesterday with student activists organizing some of the marches. "Everyone is always like, ‘take a step back, focus on school,’” said 17-year-old Emilia Allard from Ballard High School. "But I don’t think they understand that we can’t take a step back. We’ve been given this opportunity, obviously not just us here in Seattle, but every student who’s a part of these marches. And we’re only going to have this opportunity for so long, when people care and continue to listen.”

Check back here throughout the morning for updates from the walkouts.

9:55 AM: Students at Garfield and Roosevelt High Schools are preparing. Roosevelt students plan to march to the University of Washington after they walk out of class.

10 AM: Students are now walking out of class and adults are applauding. Watch live video from KING 5 here.

10:05 AM: Governor Jay Inslee has arrived at Ballard High School.

10:10 AM: A student at Ballard High School says she's lived through so many mass shootings, she's becoming numb to it. Now, students want change—and yes, they're planning to pre-register to vote.

Students at Garfield are holding 17 minutes of silence and naming the victims in Parkland:

Students at Roosevelt are holding a moment of silence before marching to the UW:

10:20 AM: Governor Jay Inslee tells Ballard High School students they're making history:

"Does owning a gun make you safe? Do guns at school make us safe?" says Marlow Barrington, a junior at Ballard High, citing statistics about gun deaths. "How can we not expect that number to climb if guns become more prevalent in our learning environments? It is my right to feel safe at school...We need to remind our elected officials that inaction is to be complicit, an action within itself."

10:25 AM: State Senator Reuven Carlyle is fired up. "We are here because we believe in something deep and that is we have a fundamental right for a quality of life and for community and for safety," he told students, "And that conviction guides us not just to the ballot box, not just to public service...not just to the work you do every day, but for something deeper."

10:31 AM: Students at Roosevelt High School begin their walkout towards the UW, setting a "grueling pace."

10:33 AM: Garfield students signed this poster, which will be delivered to the Washington State Senate. The Senate failed to vote on a bill that would have enhanced background checks and increased the purchasing age for rapid-fire assault weapons.

Steven Hsieh

10:45 AM: Garfield students run out of voter registration forms due to high demand.

Aliyah Akers, 17, and Alli Shinn, 16, students from Ballard High’s NAACP Coalition, speak out to reporter Sydney Brownstone. "We want to recognize that there are communities in places like Chicago that have been asking for this for years and don't get this media attention and don't get this publicity."

Garfield students: "Remember to keep everything intersectional. It’s not just about the white people who are dying."

10:50 AM: A huge group of high school students marched through Ravenna and have now arrived at UW's Red Square:

While we're all here, a reminder:

11:10 AM: Roosevelt senior Gabe Rosenbloom to politicians: "Hear our voice now because soon you work for us."

Roosevelt student Aurora: "Kids these days aren't afraid of redefining the world. We welcome change with open arms."

Seattle City Council member Lorena González calls for "common sense gun reform and restrictions" and tells students, "you are the future."

Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda: "Time is up asking for prayers. I don't want any more thoughts. We want action now."

11:33 AM:


Earlier today, newly-elected school board member Zachary De Wolf attended the walkout at Garfield High School. He told The Stranger, "Just to see them really empowered, but also taking power over their future and lives is very exciting, is really inspiring. That’s what makes me want to support them at my level.”

Last week, the School Board of Seattle Public Schools passed a resolution calling for lawmakers to pass legislation that would increase the age restriction on purchasing assault rifles from 18 to 21, as well as enhancing background checks for the same kinds of weapons. The resolution also called for closing private gun sale loopholes and banning rapid fire assault weapons altogether.

11:45 AM: Mayor Jenny Durkan leads students in a call-and-response chant. "I'm going to say 'Whose time?' and you say 'Our time!'"

Durkan then introduced Scout Smissen, a student at Roosevelt High School.

The speaker-portion of the rally appears to be winding down: