Lake Oswego students head to Salem to press for school safety

"If adults aren't going to make change, then the students are going to create change for themselves," said Penelope Spurr, a Lake Oswego high sophomore.

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- About 200 students descended on the Oregon State Capitol to rally for stronger gun laws and safer schools. The group was made up of high schoolers from Lake Oswego.

Coming together felt empowering, as they delivered their message.

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"It’s really important to all of us here, clearly. We’re here, I’m missing a chem test," said Lake Oswego student Tatum Miller. "I’m willing to do it for this because I don’t feel safe at school and I deserve to feel safe at school."

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Miller helped organize the event.

Lakeridge High School sophomore Eli Counce began planning the demonstration after watching coverage of the Parkland shooting.

“It was painful,” Counce said.

He then began organizing students from both Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schools for a trip to Salem.

“We have this passionate group of students and teenagers that want change, really bad,” he said.

Counce said that the goal of the group was to advocate for stronger laws that would increase school safety. Following Monday’s planned demonstration outside the Capitol, members of the group spoke with lawmakers.

“If adults aren’t going to make change, then the students are going to create change for themselves,” said Penelope Spurr, a Lake Oswego High sophomore.

“I want stronger gun control. I want more awareness for warning signs exhibited in teenagers,” said Counce.

“It’s our right as students to feel safe getting up in the morning and going to school,” added student Greta Burton.

Organizers told KGW that they notified school administrators of their plans to miss classes the day of the demonstration. Based on paperwork submitted by each student, around 200 students were expected to attend the event.

“Before we knew it, a week later we had 200 kids. It was pretty crazy,” Spurr said.

Counce started an online fundraiser on the website GoFundMe to help independently cover the costs to transport the students to Salem. As of Sunday evening, the GoFundMe page had raised over $1,300.

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“We are going to march, and chant. And make our message – just hammer it home,” Counce said.

The demonstration began around 10 a.m. on Monday outside the Capitol. Following speeches from students, the group wmet with lawmakers. Students would then returned outside the capitol to march in support of safer schools.