On the morning of Friday, April 19, countless high school students across the nation walked out of class as part of the National School Walkout aimed at preventing gun violence in schools for future generations. In an unfortunate twist of fate, however, students from Forest High School in Ocala, Florida, were unable to walk out because, at the time of the protest, there was an active gunman in their school threatening students' lives. Instead of speaking out against gun violence, students barricaded classroom doors to protect themselves from it.
Students like Jake Mailhiot, 16, posted photos of their makeshift barriers on Twitter:
Mailhiot commented to CNN on the lockdown experience, which lasted an hour:
I didn't hear anything other than people from other classrooms crying.
The images were widely shared during the protests to show how present gun violence is even after the February shooting in Parkland, Florida.
This photo was taken this morning at Forest HS in Ocala, FL, when students were barricaded in a classroom frightened for their lives when they should have instead been walking out of class for #NationalSchoolWalkout day--on the anniversary of the tragic Columbine shooting. pic.twitter.com/rSaLFN5bmc— Mai Khanh Tran M.D. (@DocTran2018) April 20, 2018
These are pictures from inside Forest High School in Ocala this morning— Todd LaVogue, M.S. (@ToddLaVogue) April 20, 2018
Students built impressive barricades to keep out a school shooter
Barricade building is a skill these kids should not have to be good at#Ocala #foresthighschool pic.twitter.com/B0JW2ILQjt
The Marion County Sheriff's Office identified the shooter as 19-year-old Sky Bouche, who entered the school with a shotgun in a guitar case. He injured one individual, whose ankle was struck by bullets when Bouche fired his weapon under a locked classroom door. Bouche was taken into custody without confrontation, and is now being charged with "terrorism, aggravated assault with a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, culpable negligence, possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a short-barrelled shotgun, interference in school property and armed trespass on school property."
There is an Active shooting occurring at Forest High School in my town Ocala, Florida. When will this end? Why must I be afraid to go to school? To be a normal teen? To take an Anatomy quiz? To learn about the Civil Rights movement? This is unbelievable.— Athena Atsides (@AthenaAtsides) April 20, 2018
Bouche will return to court on May 22, by which point U.S. students will have likely experienced another similar shooting.
Since the beginning of 2018, there's been an average of one school shooting per week. Change is long overdue.