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East central Illinois students hold walkouts

Students said they want stricter gun laws and restrictions on what type of guns can be purchased. (WCCU)

Students across Central Illinois walked out of the classroom at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Dozens of students at Champaign's Edison Middle School held signs in remembrance of the school shooting victims in Parkland, Florida.

Several parents were also there, supporting their students.

"Too many of our babies are dying and it's not O.K.,” parent Amy Jaeger said. “It's not O.K. that one of them is to die this way, and we've had enough."

Students who walked out want Congress to hear their voices.

"Even though we're just kids that can't vote, it doesn't mean we still can't take a stand and there are kids dying and we need to change that,” Edison 6th grader Ethan Jaeger said.

Students said they want stricter gun laws and restrictions on what type of guns can be purchased.

"At the very beginning of the year, they always talk about like Alice drills and all this stuff about telling us what to do if somebody was to show up,” Edison 8th grader Quinn Fisher said. “It's kind of scary to think about in the first place that somebody could show up."

There was an increased police presence at Edison after a social media threat made on SnapChat. After investigating, police said the threat was intended as a joke but that student was not at school Wednesday.

At Rantoul High School several dozen students also walked out. Administrators there supporting those students, just asking that they keep it peaceful.

"Well, I think it's great to see that they demonstrated peacefully and appropriately, nonviolently,” Rantoul Township High School Principal Todd Wilson said.

Central and Centennial High Schools had walkouts as well. Some students also held a walkout after school.

"I think it's just the simple fact that we're not trying to prove any point here with the administration because they haven't done anything wrong,” Centennial High School senior Omar Yaseen said. "We simply just want students to be safe."

Unit 4 district officials said the student made the threat against Edison Middle School has been referred to the youth assessment center for further evaluation. Adding any future threats made against the school, joke or not, will be taken seriously.

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