Fairfield students join in national walkout for safer schools

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FAIRFIELD -

Fairfield Ludlowe High School students joined others in western Connecticut and across the country to walk out of their classrooms Wednesday and demand Congress address gun violence at schools.

The walkout came one month after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida. At Fairfield Ludlowe, students criticized that school shootings continue to happen five years after one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. 

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"It's heartbreaking," said Caroline Donnelly, a student. "It could've been anyone."

The walkout took place around 10 a.m. and lasted about 45 minutes. Students exited through side doors onto the football field as bells rang in remembrance of school shooting victims.

Critics argue that school shootings happen so often that they've begun to desensitize people.

"The thing that worried me most is when those images stopped having an effect," Donnelly said. "When those images just started to feel normal."

Both high school and middle school students took part. They chanted things like, "What do we want? School safety. When do we want it? Now!" and "Enough is enough!"

Organizers are also working to help classmates register to vote. Nick Fech, another student, said young people don't have to wait to become the leaders of tomorrow.

"For me, this event was primarily seeing the students getting involved," he said. "The leaders of today."

Students who took part in the walkouts said they felt that they had to make a stand after years of inaction from lawmakers.

"This can't become our new normal," Donnelly said. "I need to do something to change it."

PHOTOS: Connecticut students stage school walkouts to protest gun violence

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