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Whitmore Charter students pause to remember victims
17 minutes of silence for 17 who died at Florida school
Whitmore Charter vigil
Students of Whitmore Charter High School gathered Thursday around the flagpole for a 17-minute moment of silence for the 17 victims of the Feb. 20 school shooting in Parkland, Fla. This photo was shot through the wrought iron fencing since the Courier was barred access to the school grounds before the event started. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

A handful of Whitmore Charter High School students united Thursday afternoon around the campus flagpole to participate in the nationwide #neveragain walkout in response to the deadly campus shooting in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students were killed on Feb. 14 when Nickolas Cruz, 19, opened fire on them.

Kendra Fletcher, mother of student Caroline Fletcher who organized the event, notified the Courier of the planned event but district officials and Assistant Principal Matt Huttsell denied media access to the event and students. The student later contacted the Courier to explain the purpose of the "walkout," which occurred during the lunch period. About 15 to 20 showed up.

"I didn't want it to be a super big political thing, I just wanted it to be in honor of the kids that had lost their lives and just making our school aware," said junior Caroline Fletcher. "I'm sure they're aware and I'm sure they have their political opinions but I wanted to just come together in a circle of kids and say hey this is the reality. I just hated that I had to think of my school and think of the kids who could do that to us."

The nationwide event was crafted as a student-led protest against the horror of school shootings and push for gun law reforms. Student survivors of the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School traveled to their state Capitol in Tallahassee to attend a rally and urge legislators to enact laws to make lives safer.

National media have reported that Broward County Sheriff's deputies failed to go into the shooting, and that the agency received at least 45 warning calls about the suspect.