Thousands of people all over the USA are expected to rally against gun violence Saturday alongside the students for the protest.
But in the end Ashley chose to come with a group of 200 students from her school.
"While I do not necessarily agree with them, I do hear what they're saying, and I think that's just so awesome to see", Helms said. The whole point of this was to honor those who died. School shootings, he said, are driven by "faulty communication and reporting of prior convictions", along with mental health issues.
"We thought it was important because we want kids to feel safe in school and we want to stand with all of the kids standing together (because) we want change", said sophomore and student-organizer Eli Colper. "If they're not going to be there, we're still going to march". "We want to assure you that the safety and security of our students and employees remain our highest priorities". We are the change.
While security upgrades have been among the demands by students at the school, the requirement that they use clear plastic backpacks did not sit well with many teens, said Jenna Korsten, a Stoneman Douglas senior. Students will walk down Pennsylvania Avenue during the March for Our Lives on Saturday alongside pop stars Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. The organization's daily spending on online ads more than quadrupled after the Parkland shooting, rising to an average of more than $47,000 per day. Aside from being reporters, they said they're first hand victims of gun violence.
"We have noticed that throughout the grades there has been mistreatment of other students and adults", Long said.More news: Became known, the poisoned Skripal in London
She said middle school can be a really challenging age especially in the post-Columbine era.
"It's easy to get tied up in the negative and the sadness and the fear that's in front of you", said LaForge. "He said he saw himself and his friends and his movement in us, in our movement", she said.
They felt they needed to give a voice to the 17 people who were killed, because those 17 voices were taken away too soon.
Even before the March for Our Lives begins, the Parkland students have moved the needle on gun control. "Everyone has their own idea of how this needs to change, but I think we all agree that this needs to change".
She added, following the walkout, that she was very proud of how students handled themselves. "They're talking about communicating with each other to help prevent something like this". She also has been a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement that has its roots in her home state as a response to the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. "We were definitely more fearful of letting you go that day, and you said 'I got things to do.' That was really just a moment that we realized you were growing up".
But if and when they do need advice or assistance, there are survivors of previous mass shootings and more established groups willing to assist with that education.