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Colorado Students Walk out of Vigil after Event Becomes Politicized

Junie Sihlangu
May 10, 2019
02:37 P.M.

A Wednesday night vigil for students who were victims of the Colorado school shooting took a turn when some of the students stormed out. The children left because the event took a political turn.

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Two Democratic politicians took the stage and called for gun control which led to the students feeling unheard and misrepresented.

A community in Colorado held a night vigil for the STEM School Highlands Ranch survivors and victims after two students opened fire at the school on Wednesday. However, things took a turn when Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who is running for president, and Rep. Jason Crow, who runs the congressional district took the stage.

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According to a tweet by Kyle Clark, an anchor with 9NEWS in Denver: “STEM School students walked out of a vigil tonight after @RepJasonCrow & @SenatorBennet spoke.” Clark further wrote: “Students said their grief was being politicized. They later returned, took the mic, and some said they didn't want to be used to promote gun control.”

The students chanted that they “wanted to be heard” when the politicians took to the stage. Around 2,000 people came to the high school gym that night to remember Kendrick Castillo, 18, who was shot and killed while trying to tackle one of the shooters.

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Castillo and two other classmates were hailed as heroes for stopping the attack. Authorities have credited Castillo and two classmates with stopping the attack.

Unfortunately, eight others were injured in the shooting that involved two shooters. Team Enough, the student branch of the gun control group the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, was one of the organizations responsible for hosting the vigil.

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They later released a statement apologizing to the students for offending them. The statement read:

“We are deeply sorry any part of this vigil did not provide the support, caring and sense of community we sought to foster and facilitate and which we know is so crucial to communities who suffer the trauma of gun violence.”

When the students returned some of them got to speak to the crowd claiming that their grief was being used for political purposes. A student said: “What has happened at STEM is awful. But it’s not a statistic. We can’t be used as a reason for gun control. We are people, not a statement.”

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Another student added:

“We wanted Kendrick to be mourned. We wanted all of you to join us in that mourning, but that was not allowed here. We all walked out. We were not kicked out.”

Nui Giasolli, a senior at the Colorado school recalled how she was in her British literature class when one of the shooters, Devon Erickson, 18, pulled out a gun. She stated: “The next thing I know, he is pulling a gun and is telling nobody to move.”

The second suspect was described as a juvenile female, but a public defender clarified that the juvenile preferred to use male pronouns.

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