SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A little boy who was the only student in his second-grade class in San Jose to participate in Wednesday’s nationwide protest calling for gun control ended up joining the big kids at a nearby high school.
KPIX 5 reporter Len Ramirez took a photo of young Leonardo Aguilar standing with a group of much older students at Lincoln High School. He was carrying a handmade sign strung around his neck that proclaimed “Guns Are Cruel Not Cool.”
His mother walked him down the street from Trace Elementary School to Lincoln on Wednesday since the high school was hosting a morning protest
A KPIX 5 cameraman caught Leonardo restlessly standing against a wall, shifting from one foot to the other during the Lincoln High protest as other students spoke out against gun violence from a podium.
“I’m protesting for the Florida shooting. I made a poster — as you can see — and I came here,” he said when Len Ramirez asked him about participating in the protest.
When asked why he felt so strongly, the second grader replied, “Because guns are not safe and people get hurt. And teenagers shouldn’t bring guns to school.”
When he was asked if he felt safe at school, Leonardo shook his head and said, “No.”
About 200 Lincoln students walked out, just a fraction of the 1,800 students on campus. School administrators provided a stage and a microphone to allow students to speak out but keep them on school grounds.
“I’m glad that all of you are here today,” said Lincoln sophomore Chris Raymond. “But we need more. We need all the young people in this nation to stand up and fight these outrageous gun laws!”
Students spoke of anger and sorrow over the fact that nothing has changed and the fear of it happening to them.
“I think about all those parents, all those students,” said freshman Ileana Meraz. “I just feel the pain that those parents might have felt at that moment. It’s devastating to me.”
She said she was first terrified of school shootings when Sandy Hook happened when she was 8.
That’s the same age as Leonardo.
The second grader was just one of thousands of Bay Area students protesting all over the region, walking out of their classrooms to call for gun control and school safety in the wake of the high school shooting in Florida that claimed 17 lives last month.
The photo, posted to Ramirez’s Twitter account at 10:42 a.m. went viral. By 3:30 p.m., it had been liked over 22,000 times and retweeted by 2,000 Twitter users.