San Diego County students taking part in April 20 National School Walkout

Event also marks anniversary of Columbine tragedy

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Thousands of students across San Diego County Friday took part in a nationwide school walkout as part of a continuing push for gun reform.

The April 20 National School Walkout also marks the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

According to the National School Walkout website, nearly 3,000 schools around the U.S. participated in walkouts Friday at 10 a.m. local time. The event occurred less than a month after students across the country walked out in demonstrations prompted by the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The following San Diego County schools (per the NationalSchoolWalkout.net website) took part in the national event:

-- Bonita Vista High School
-- Canyon Crest Academy
-- Chula Vista High School
-- Clairemont High School
-- Coronado High School
-- Eastlake High School
-- El Camino High School
-- Farb Middle School
-- High Tech High School
-- Hilltop High School
-- Hoover High School
-- Kumeyaay Elementary School
-- La Jolla High School
-- Mission Hills High School
-- Olympian High School
-- Otay Ranch High School
-- Point Loma High School
-- Poway High School
-- Rancho Buena Vista High School
-- San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts
-- San Marcos High School
-- Scripps Ranch High School
-- University City High School
-- Westview High School

Students at Clairemont High walked out and marched to Mission Bay, where they were set to meet with students from Mission Bay High School and local political leaders.

Not all students walked off campus, however. For example, several students at Hoover High School said they would walkout but stay on school grounds to hold a voter drive. Students at Del Norte High School also chose not to leave campus, instead, holding a student forum on gun reform and a voter drive.

Many local school districts did not discourage students from participating in the walkouts, but district officials said unexcused absences will be issued to students who leave campus -- unless they have a note from a parent or guardian.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department issued the following statement regarding the National School Walkout:

On Friday, April 20th, students and faculty at schools across the nation are expected to walkout to mark 19 years since the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is aware several schools in our jurisdictions will be participating in the National School Walkout. We respect everyone's right to express themselves in a peaceful and respectful manner.

We would ask that students and administrators communicate with their local law enforcement particularly if they will be leaving campus to ensure their safety navigating roadways and the well-being of drivers and pedestrians.

For our students: please respect the instructions of school officials and if you hear any threats of violence or even potential violence, we encourage you to talk to one of our Sheriff's School Resource Deputies. The Sheriff's Department takes every threat seriously.

In addition, students can call the anonymous Crime Stoppers Students Speaking Out tip line at (888) 580-8477. Students, parents and the public can also call the Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200.
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