BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Step by step, the halls at Walter Williams High School in Burlington were emptied Wednesday morning. They wanted to take time to remember those who are no longer here.
Seventeen seconds of silence followed the name of 17 victims taken during a shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school one month ago.
"They were allowing themselves to feel this and they were letting themselves be upset and letting themselves remember the 17 people that were killed," student organizer Sayer Kirk said.
"I was very amazed by the graciousness that each one gave to the situation because this isn't a very easy subject to talk about," Student Council President Job Williamson said.
Students held signs reading "Am I next?" and "Not one more," but students were not allowed to talk about guns during the event, or have signs indicating any political bias or mentioning guns.
"It's really hard because this is a protest and it is trying to make a change, and that is the change we want to make, and if we don't mention that, then it's just an empty promise and it's just we're gonna make a change," Kirk said.
Principal Stephanie Hunt says the walkout was not about making a political statement. Instead it focused on honoring the victims.
Superintendent for Alamance-Burlington Schools, William Harrison, says the issues surrounding school shootings are complicated, but he has hope for the future.
"It's not solely about guns, it's not solely about personnel, it's not solely about mental health," Harrison said. "And until we can find a way to have civil discourse about the challenges facing us, we're not going to find a solution, but when I look out at you I have every confidence that you're gonna do a better job than my generation has."