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Hundreds Walk Out At Venice High School With Support Of Principal And School District

Quincy J Walters
Venice High School Principal Eric Jackson greets students as they walkout of class. He tells them "good morning" and asks how they're doing.

All across the country, students walked out of their schools to advocate for gun control and to commemorate the 17 lives lost in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting one month ago Wednesday.  At a high school in Venice, Fla.,  students had support from school administrators and the Sarasota County school district.

Click here to listen to the version that aired on WGCU.

At a little after 10 am, hundreds of students walked onto the football field at Venice High School.

Principal Eric Jackson greeted students with “good morning” and asked them how they’re doing.

He said he hopes the school supporting students would help give them closure.

"It will hopefully provide healing for some of our students," Jackson said. 

The students held hands, bowed their heads and were mostly silent for 17 minutes. Each minute, the name one of a person killed one month ago is read aloud.

Venice High School senior Giovanni Puglisi wore a Stoneman Douglass hoodie. He transferred from Stoneman Douglas a few months ago when his family moved to Venice.

Puglisi said he got a phone call from his girlfriend who goes to Stoneman Douglas as the Valentine’s Day massacre was happening.

“She said it was rumors of firecrackers," he said. "And next thing you know, I get a call three minutes later. SWAT Team’s here. Thousands of cops show up.”

His girlfriend made it out that day. Six of his friends didn't.

Yet Puglisi said he’s "very pro-gun" and that the Stoneman Douglas shooting doesn’t change that.

"I don't think it's the gun that’s the issue," he said.  "It’s the person."

The walkout at Venice High was organized by the student body president, Jessica Gonzalez - daughter of Republican State Sen. Julio Gonzalez.

The young Gonzalez said the shooting was a result of failures at different levels of government.

"There are definitely cautions that could have been taken and should have been taken because they were supposed to have been enforced that just fell through," she said.

Gonzalez said that no matter what people’s political affiliations are or where they stand on guns, coming together to heal after a tragedy is a bipartisan effort.