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Charlotte Area Students Join Walkout In Push For Gun Control

Students in cities and towns across North Carolina walked out of class today calling on lawmakers and politicians to take greater action to curb school gun violence.

At least 70 schools across the state were registered to take part in the walkouts, including schools in Charlotte, Raleigh, Asheville, Greensboro, and dozens of other localities, according to a spokesperson with the National School Walkout organization.

At David W. Butler High School in Matthews, about 150 students left their first period classes and walked to the football field, where students gave speeches, wrote letters to victims of gun violence, and distributed voter registration and pre-registration forms.

Student organizers also marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting by reading the names of the 13 people killed when two gunmen opened fire inside the Colorado school.

“They were just a normal school that never thought it could happen to them,” said 17-year-old senior Desirae Ausbrook. “We realized that we are also just a normal school - that we never think it could happen to us, but it can.”

Freshman Isabella Morada, 14, echoed those concerns.

“I think people need to realize that just because we’re kids doesn’t mean we don’t have an important opinion,” Morada said.

In recent weeks, local and state officials have begun taking steps to improve school safety. On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper called for $130 million to dedicate to improving school safety around the state.

The money would go toward upgrading security systems, as well as adding counselors, social workers and resource officers. The governor’s request would still need to be approved by the General Assembly.

CMS superintendent Clayton Wilcox has also called for more funding for school safety measures, which would include adding security staff, hardening doors, and possibly adding fences and cameras at public schools.

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal