Hundreds of Bozeman High school students walked out of school Friday in protest over gun and safety laws.
More than 300 students and parents joined in a protest walkout from the school to Sen. Steve Daines' office in downtown Bozeman.
Many students protesting disagreed with the stance of Daines' stance on gun control and reform.
The protest was in response to the recent rise in school shootings and organized by over a dozen of student organizers.
Student and protest organizer Timea Laatschit, reflected on how the protest came to be.
“(It)was me and a group of 15 other people, and we all kind of found each other knowing something needs to happen. So we just kind of got the word out to everyone we could. We were telling everyone in the school. The goal was really to raise awareness that we don’t feel safe in our schools and that’s something that shouldn’t be, schools a place for learning and not a place for fear,” Laatschit said.
Bozeman high student Oliver Noyes was happy that he had a say in the gun control debate.
“I feel that the protest went very well today, it really showed that we are a democracy, and we are the people of the United States and that we can make a difference no matter how old we are," Noyes said.
Administrators didn’t formally sanction the protest since the protest took place during school hours.
Teachers and faculty asked that students participating have a signed note from parents to be excused from class.
However, administrators and Bozeman police officers walked along with students to ensure their safety.
"This wasn’t authorized by the school or endorsed by the school. We informed parents that if students were participating in the activity, we would mark them absent and it would be up to the parents if they wanted to excuse the absence or not. We got word that they were going to leave campus, we also got word that there may be counter-protest, so we believed it was our responsibility just to walk alongside them to make sure they were safe,” Superintendent Robert Watson said.
In addition to the high school walkout, Chief Joseph Middle school students participated in a walkout.
The protest lasted seventeen minutes to remember the seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting in Florida.
The protest was organized by eighth-grader Riley Glanzer with help from a few parent volunteers who are concerned for the students’ safety.
Marilyn Guggenheim, an MSU teacher who helped organize the event says, “They don’t have a vote yet, this is a way that they can exercise their freedom of expression as was stated in the superintendents’ email to parents. Of the Americans killed by gunfire, seven of them every day are children and teenagers. “