Downers Grove North HS Students March For Anti-Gun Violence

The march marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre

Bernie Tafoya
April 20, 2018 - 2:37 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- In the western suburbs, about 75 students left classes on Friday at Downers Grove North High School for a mile-long march and anti-gun violence rally in a local park.  

Students cheered when passing cars honked in support of their anti-violence march as they walked down Main Street towards downtown Downers Grove and Fishel Park.

Then, at the Veterans Memorial Pavilion, they began their rally with a moment of silence for the 13 victims of the Columbine High School massacre that happened 19 years ago on April 20.

Downers Grove North senior Prevail Bonga said during the march, "it’s important that students feel safe in their schools and shouldn’t have to worry about coming to school and thinking about a gun threat."

Senior Emily Gornick said she was marching, not just for school shooting victims, but victims of gun violence in cities and at concerts. For anyone who has lost his or her life at the hands of an assault rifle.

The school had warned students they'd get detentions for walking out.  Gornick called it "very worth it."

"Doing a four-hour is nothing compared to having your lives lost," she added.

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Marcher Christopher Espinoza called the punishment he was going to receive "very appropriate." 

"We’re walking out of school. We’re leaving our classes. We should have to suffer the consequences," he said.

Senior Lily Janowicz said there was no way she was not going to walk out of school.

"I just think enough is enough. We’ve had so many tragedies just in 2018 that it’s really up to the students this time to say something," she said.

Student Amaya Heredia was not disappointed there were only 75 students who walked out. She understood that some people didn't want to do a detention.  But, she walked out.

"We need to make a change in this world and we’re a new generation and I feel like gun violence needs to stop now. We’ve had enough of it," she said.

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

A number of parents were supportive of the students. Rochelle Gorey marched and supported her freshman daughter who walked out of school. 

"Parkland and Columbine and every place that a school shooting has occurred has shown us that it doesn’t matter where you live. It could happen anywhere," Gorey said.

Parent Jill Goodman said she also volunteers with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 

"Parkland woke people up finally so I think it’s awesome that other students are getting involved," Goodman said.

Goodman also said of the students at Downers Grove North that, "it’s good that they are taking on this role to wake up the rest of the nation."

As the student march went down Main Street, Susan Vitti called out from her front porch and asked the students if she could join them.  They welcomed her. Vitti said she's "supporting their effort. If adults had supported it earlier, they wouldn’t be in this position."