Briella TomassettiMar 14, 2018, 1:42 pm

National Walkout Day is significant at a school in Dix Hills

Students hold a moment of silence for Parkland victim Scott Beigel, a native of the community

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DIX HILLS — Students at Half Hollow Hills East High School joined thousands across the nation Wednesday for National Walkout Day.

Hundreds of students stormed out of the building at 10 a.m. sharp, standing in solidarity for 17 minutes and demanding stricter federal gun control laws and better school safety.

FiOS1 News was not allowed on property to talk to any of the students, and the school instructed them to go back inside after the demonstration was over. However, FiOS1 News was able to speak to some students on Tuesday about what the walk out means to them.

"The day after the shooting that happened in Parkland, I was actually scared. Like I when I heard textbooks drop or anything like a noise, I got scared, which is not something you should be," said Jesse Boxenhorn, a freshman at Half Hollow Hills East.

The Parkland tragedy hits close to home for the Dix Hills community. One of the 17 victims, geography teacher Scott Beigel, was a Dix Hills native, and his parents still live in the community. The kids held a moment of silence in his honor along with the 16 other shooting victims.

"We have a voice and yes, we are young, but we can make a change by doing these simple walkouts and promoting school safety," said junior Taylor Ehrlich.

Although the high school administration did not endorse the walk out, faculty, police, and security guards remained outside for the entire demonstration. The principal, Milton Strong, sent out an email prior to the event that reads in part:

"The Half Hollow Hills Central School District sympathizes with the desire of students to express themselves and to participate in an event to affect meaningful change. However, it is important for parents and students to understand that a ‘walk-out’ cannot be permitted or endorsed by the district."

"I want to show that this is what I want to fight for. And it might take someone getting in trouble, get suspended, get an unexcused absence, but that’s what matters. We’re here to fight for what we want and we are not going to take no for an answer." Boxenhorn said.

"Every generation has their moment, and this moment is ours," said sophomore Nicholas Likos.

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