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Clark County students taking part in gun violence walkout

Updated April 19, 2018 - 5:12 pm

Students from at least 11 schools around the Las Vegas Valley have signed up to take part in a national walkout on Friday to protest gun violence and call for legislative reform.

The #NationalSchoolWalkout on the 19th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado drew participation pledges from more than 2,600 schools around the U.S., according to the organizers’ website.

Locally, UNLV, nine Clark County high schools and one middle school were registered for the 10 a.m. protest. National organizers were urging students to participate in all-day protests and other activities, but it was not clear if any of the local schools planned to heed that call.

UNLV student Karl Catarata, who is organizing a walkout from 10 a.m. to noon that begins on the Student Recreation and Wellness Center lawn, said the protests are creating “necessary” conversations in classrooms and in the community.

“Everybody is worried about people getting burnt out on this issue,” Catarata said. “But we’re still seeing the same support from the community and the students.”

He said Friday’s event at the university will be longer than a similar campus walkout last month and will feature a host of speakers, including Rep. Dina Titus, state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford and state Sen. Patricia Spearman, all local Democrats.

“Elected officials are seeing this is something they cannot ignore,” Catarata said.

Organizers of protests at the Clark County School District campuses could not be contacted.

It’s the second widespread protest of gun violence in just over a month, as many students through the valley also held demonstrations on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The school district initially opposed the walkouts, but officials later softened softened that stance.

Students can participate in activities that remain on campus and are approved by administrators beforehand, the district has said. Principals have reviewed these rules in preparation for possible walkouts on Friday, according to a district spokeswoman.

District officials could not say Thursday if organizers of the planned walkouts at local schools has sought or obtained authorization from administrators.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter. Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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