Lenoir City students stage walkout to honor Florida shooting victims

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) - Dozens of students in Lenoir City walked out of class on Tuesday morning to honor the victims of the Florida school shooting. The kids stood in the school parking lot and some stayed outside for more than an hour. Students were discussing their fears around school shootings and the changes they want to see.

"They can't be just killed at school and be shot and nobody care or do anything about it," said student Paige Weeks.

Weeks and roughly 100 of her classmates gathered in the parking lot initially just for 17 minutes to honor the victims. She stayed out for longer. She said she no longer feels safe on campus.

"It's just continuously happening and nothing is changing. It is ridiculous because our school could be next," she said.

A few other students, like Zach Johnson, also missed class to continue the walkout. Johnson felt it was worth it to take the absence.

"We have people talking about what's going on with gun control, add some security to the school and everything," he said

Principal Chip Orr supported his students taking a stand. He said they are listening while emphasizing the importance of safety.

"We have locked doors during the day. People have to check in and out at the front desk. They have to leave us with their ID when they come in," said Orr.

He said the kids who missed class will be marked absent, but it will be treated as if they were not in school. He said he never wants the kids or faculty to be scared to come to school, but some students felt more security measures need to be taken, like additional resource officers.

"We don't want this to continue to happen. We need to bring attention to this and somebody needs to stop this," he said.

Orr said they have two school resource officers. In addition, he said they train their students in the event a shooting should happen. Lenoir City High School conducts lockdown drills regularly, but there are plans in place to train the kids on new procedures next week.