COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Dreher High School students opted to stay indoors for National School Walkout Day. Those who chose to participate gathered inside the school's auditorium, sitting in silence for about 17 minutes.
Students say it was one of the quietest moments they've ever seen in their 850-seat school auditorium that was almost filled to capacity.
Students say the decision to stay inside came after several students expressed safety concerns. Still wanting to take part in the nationwide memorial and protest, the students were seated inside the auditorium as the names of the 17 Florida school shooting victims were read aloud.
Dreher High School senior Sarah Hinnant, who helped to organize the event, said some people were focused on the wrong message.
"Some students think that it's primarily about gun reform, but it's really just about school safety – or the walkout was – being able to be safe in a learning environment," Hinnant said.
Senior Claire McConnell agreed.
"I would like there to be a change," McConnell said. "I want to be able to go to school for the 180 days that are mandatory for me to be in school and I want to be able to not have to wonder if I'm going to be able to go home alive."
Schools across the nation held their memorials and protests for exactly 17 minutes in honor of the Parkland victims. Dreher students say classes were back in session immediately after.
But that doesn't mean the battle is over just yet. Some of the same students who helped to setup Wednesday's walk-in are also organizing a March for Our Lives event on March 24 at the State House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.