LEWISTON — Hundreds of students linked arms along four long hallways Wednesday morning for a moment of silence at Lewiston High School.

They want to be safe and they want something done.

Ninth-grader Kaylee Bouchard held a sign that read, “One child is worth more than all the guns in the world.”

“If we all stick together, we can make a difference,” Bouchard said.

Students held the short, peaceful classroom walkout in response to last month’s Parkland, Florida, school shooting, part of the national effort #Enough calling for tougher gun laws.

Principal Jake Langlais held a quick assembly before the walkout asking students to be safe and talking them through what would happen if the school were at risk of a direct threat: Hunker down in classrooms. Do not make noise. Listen to staff.

“If you ever hear gunfire at our school, I want you to follow protocol and I want you to be ready to fight back,” he said. “These are extreme times, if we have to protect ourselves, we should. Your teachers know what to do. We will practice again soon.”

Langlais also encouraged the teens to take care of each other and be kind.

“The same way we become a great school is the same way we become a safe school,” he said.

Say hello, interact, he said. “Don’t let kids sit alone.”

After the assembly, students had the option of heading back to class or gathering in the hallways to link arms for a moment of silence.

Freshman Jovany Diaz participated because it felt important.

“It gives attention,” he said. “It shows people actually care.” 

Brianna Remeika, a senior, held a sign that read, “#Enough. Gun Control NOW.”

“I think it’s really relevant that we stand together for gun control and stand with our peers,” she said.

Junior Sean Monteith said he had received approval within the past few days to form the Youth Action Club. He would like one of its first acts to be lobbying at the State House for a gun-control bill.

He was also trying to organize a local March For Our Lives event in Lewiston on Saturday to tie into the national protest.

“I’m trying to motivate people to start doing something,” Monteith said. “It has been two decades since Columbine and nothing has been done.”

Senior Elizabeth McNally, who helped organize Wednesday’s event, said she would like the national conversation to move beyond the availability of assault rifles.

“A gun’s a gun,” she said. “People in general, they have this idea they’re invincible, but they’re not. Anything could happen.”

She was happy with the turnout and surprised that some students who had turned out to link arms were not among those she expected to participate.

“I think that’s great,” McNally said.

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https://youtu.be/iaMRrrz0EO8
(Video courtesy of Matt Hird)

Freshman Kaylee Bouchard, 14, holds a sign that reads, “One child is worth more than all the guns in the world” while joining arms with hundreds of students at Lewiston High School on Wednesday. The sign was made by senior Elizabeth McNally, who was helping organize the #Enough event. She asked Bouchard to hold the sign. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Senior Brianna Remeika, 18, holds a sign that reads “#ENOUGH: Gun Control Now” following an assembly on school safety at Lewiston High School on Wednesday. Remeika is involved in the school’s new Youth Action Club. Members plan to lobby legislators in Augusta to support more gun-control measures. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Freshmen Savannah Leonard, right, and Maka Ahmed join hands during the classroom walkout at Lewiston High School on Wednesday. Hundreds of students joined hands and arms throughout the first-floor hallways as part of the #Enough movement calling for tougher gun-control laws. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Alicia LaPointe writes, “Everybody and their voice is important. Be there to listen to someone. Listening and acknowledging that person does more than you may think” on a sheet of paper in the hallway at Lewiston High School on Wednesday. Students were invited to write down their thoughts following an assembly on school safety. Olivia Chandler is at left. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Principal Jake Langlais talks to students during an assembly on school safety at Lewiston High School on Wednesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Kaylee Bouchard and Bryona Pelletier, right, hold a sign that reads, “One child is worth more than all the guns in the world” while joining arms with hundreds of students at Lewiston High School on Wednesday. The sign was made by senior Elizabeth McNally, who helped to organize the #Enough event. She asked Bouchard and Pelletier to hold the sign. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Senior Brianna Remeika, 18, holds a sign that reads, “#ENOUGH: Gun Control Now” at Lewiston High School on Wednesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Lewiston High School senior Elizabeth McNally is outspoken on the need for more gun-control measures. She is one of the students involved in the school’s new Youth Action Club. Members plan to lobby legislators in Augusta to support more gun-control measures. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Students join hands as they line the hallways of Lewiston High School on Wednesday. They spoke out on gun violence in schools.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Lewiston High School junior Sean Monteith had his idea to form a new school Youth Action Club approved by school administrators. Club members plan to lobby legislators in Augusta to support more gun-control measures. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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