Buffalo students protest gun violence on national walk-out day

Mar 14, 2018

Buffalo Public students at the Leonardo Da Vinci High School participated in the national 'walk-out' against gun violence. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says students held a peaceful and respectful protests to send a message to congress.

Buffalo Public students at the Leonardo Da Vinci High School participated in the national 'walk-out' against gun violence.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“How many more? How many more?” chanted Da Vinci students Wednesday morning.  

Just under 400 Da Vinci High School students walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. escorted by their principal. 

They left their building on Porter Avenue on the City's west side and walk around the entire block.   

Buffalo Public students at the Leonardo Da Vinci High School participated in the national 'walk-out' against gun violence.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Da Vinci junior Madeline Rivera said it was important to honor those who died in Parkland and to spread awareness of the complexity of these school shootings.  

“There’s many different parts to it – mental illness is involved, constitutional rights and gun violence – these are all things our county is struggling with,” Rivera explained.

Rivera smartly calls on U.S. lawmakers to review gun policies.

Da Vinci junior Madeline Rivera honor those who died in Parkland and to spread awareness of the complexity of these school shootings.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“There’s an amendment called the Dickey Amendment that actually makes it so the federal government can’t unbiasedly research gun violence, so we need to change things like that so we can research it and stop it,” declared Rivera.   

The Da Vinci students said they will continue to participate in the movement. 

Da Vinci Principal Greg Lodinsky tells WBFO News nearly 400-of his students participated.

"I know I only received three notices from parents wishing that their student would not participate,” said Lodinsky. “I would say out of a student body of 400, we probably had less than 15 or 20 that elected to stay back, the rest of them were outside, in the snow chanting and making their voices heard.” 

Da Vinci Principal Greg Lodinsky.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Da Vinci principal led the students for a march around the entire block of their school building on Porter Avenue on the west side.

Buffalo Police were outside Da Vinci during the walk-out.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“We’re you worried at all, having them walk around the perimeter of the building – that there was any sense someone could take an advantage of that and make them a target?” asked Buckley.

“I suppose anytime you’re taking a stand and walking out in public there’s an opportunity to have any manner of push-back – that was a concern. I did inform the Buffalo Police and the district about our activities here today, but I have to say, knowing the Buffalo community as I do, that I felt secure the students would be safe walking around the block during our peace march.”

Buffalo Police kept a close watch to ensure student safety and there were no incidents to report.

Hundreds of students could also be seen outside suburban schools including Williamsville South High School, Sacred Heart Academy and Clarence High School. 

WBFO was among a few broadcast news outlets that were not permitted on the grounds of Clarence High School during that student walkout. Hundreds could be seen gathering on the school's football field, where they marched and observed a moment of silence for the 17 victims of last month's Florida shootings.

(video below courtesy of @theCHSwalkout on Twitter): 

Other schools, specifically parochial schools, held prayer vigils during the 17-minute period. 

WBFO's Michael Mroziak contributed to this report.