CLOVIS, California - Students here in the Central Valley demonstrated in solidarity with National Walkout Day. Some school districts encouraged students to be proactive in spreading positive messages during their walkouts.
The idea: building community in their schools' halls will help prevent another tragedy like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
At the Clovis North Education Center, students gathered in the amphitheater and created special messages for each other. Initially, just a walkout was planned -- but student group Humankind, Be Both instead focused on strengthening Clovis North Bronco ties.
"We're a Bronco family. Just us being able to connect with one another and all get involved with each other can make that family even stronger," said Humankind committee member Shea Litle.
The group tied in the #WhatsYour17 movement to their walkout. It encourages people to do 17 big or small things -- like smile at 17 people, compliment 17 people, etc. -- to create positive impact.
Students wrote their #WhatsYour17 on post-its and put them on posters with the hashtag painted on them. The posters will be put on display throughout campus.
After posting them, students also put words to action, by doing what they wrote on their post-its at the gathering.
Humankind committee member Christopher Liu said, "If they feel a certain way, [now] they can go to someone. They can talk to them and they are supported by our school."
Over at Central High School-East, students wrote supportive notes during their walkout and put them in a box. The intention is to mail them to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It was organized by students Esther Bestman and Sarah Chavez as part of their civic action project for government class.
Those who walked out at University High School on Fresno State's campus read speeches and poems, focusing on the message of peace on school campuses.
"We need community right now. After Parkland, after Sandy Hook, after Columbine -- and things like this should never again happen in our nation," said walkout organizer Zofia Trexler.
Many school districts planned individual activities for specific campuses, ranging from in-class discussions to school assemblies.