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Students Walk Out Of Arizona High Schools In Solidarity With Gun Reform Efforts

Students across the Valley walked out of their classrooms Wednesday on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.

A news helicopter hovered overhead at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale in the morning when hundreds of students walked out of class to raise their voices in support of gun reform.

The walkout was arranged in part by 18-year-old senior Rylee Tinnel.

"These horrible acts may not have a location in common, victims in common or motivations in common," Tinnel said over the speakers on the football field. "What each shooting does have is a man with a gun that shouldn't have been able to get one in the first place."

Tinnel spoke to the students gathered, some in orange shirts to symbolize solidarity with gun-control efforts.

“There was a lot bigger of a turnout than I expected and I was a little bit worried and I saw so many people here and a lot of people I didn’t expect to see, it was really cool,” she said.

Some students were in tears, others held their fists up and some had homemade signs, like 16-year-old Madison Horton.

“We just hope it somewhat counts for anything because we’re not 18, our vote isn’t heard, yet our lives are the ones in danger and I feel like that really needs to be taken into account,” Horton said, “because we do have a voice and we are going to do something to activate it if anyone will listen.”

Tinnel said this is the first kind of politically influenced event she's organized, which she did along with 17-year-old Jacob Sumner.

“It’s time to take action," Tinnel said. "These are the lives of people you know. It’s not just a school in Florida it could be our school tomorrow. It could be you and your family at the mall. So it’s time to stand up and it’s time to change the way things are for everyone.”

Other schools across the Valley held memorials and moments of silence for the shooting victims.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.