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Jack Landry, second from left, a sixth grader at Montessori Charter School in Salida, organized the student demonstration against gun violence Wednesday, March 14, on F Street (photo by Sandy Hobbs).

Meet Jack Landry, a quiet sixth-grade student at Salida’s Montessori Charter School, and you might not envision him as the local leader of a student movement against gun violence. But his teacher, Maggie Murdoch, said the march was a natural step for Landry, who has been working on a year-long research project based on peaceful versus violent forms of protest.

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 students and staff were killed, Murdoch suggested that this could be a good opportunity to organize his own peaceful protest.

“Jack watched the events unfold at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and he felt compelled to do something,” said Rafe Quinton, head of the Montessori school. “The fourth- through eighth-graders had discussions about the school shootings and how they felt about it in the days prior to the demonstration. There were many opinions voiced and welcomed. Ultimately, they decided to stage a march for all of the kids who were interested in having a voice against gun violence.”

Landry became the lead organizer of the students’ march down F Street Wednesday, March 14. The group marched from their school at 349 E St., along F Street, across the F Street bridge to the caboose and back up the F Street to their school. The noon march was held on the same day students from some 3,100 schools across the nation walked out of their schools in honor of those killed.

Landry also led chants that echoed along F Street, including, “No more silence, end gun violence,” and “Lives over guns.”

Quinton complimented the student effort. “As a public school, we are comprised of many different perspectives. As such, we do not take official positions outside of our mission and curriculum, both of which promote active participation in democracy, engaged citizens and peaceful solutions. This student-developed and student-led demonstration against gun violence and for intelligent gun legislation is representative of our method and a civic activity that we support with pride.”

Organizers of the national walkout say they support an assault-weapons ban and expansion of background checks for all gun sales. They oppose the nationalization of concealed carry laws and are against efforts to arm teachers. A national student demonstration and march is scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 24, in Washington, D.C.