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School Walkout Students Hope To Keep Momentum Up For Gun Reform Efforts

Mountain Ridge High School students had a moment of silence for the Parkland School shooting victims.
(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Mountain Ridge High School students had a moment of silence for the Parkland School shooting victims.

The students who walked out of classrooms Wednesday to memorialize the one-month anniversary of the Florida school shooting are looking for ways to continue the momentum for change.

The high schoolers crowded the Capitol lawn and the governor’s office to demand meetings with lawmakers and gun reform efforts.

They also faced criticism and ridicule from online commenters, mostly adults.

That won’t stop the students from fighting for change, said 16-year-old organizer Jacob Martinez.

“We know what we’re doing and we know how to reach out these people,” Martinez said. “That’s what it comes down to is kind of these grassroots efforts.”

Martinez said he resigned from chair of the Arizona Teen Republicans group because he’s become disillusioned with the two-party system.

“I don’t know if it’s a third party, or if it’s just slapping some common sense into these two parties to stop being so polar and to work together, because that’s what it is, they just don’t want to compromise.”

Martinez said he’s still a Republican, though, and will continue his efforts through an independent politically-minded group.

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.