About 20 Johansen High School students exercised their First Amendment rights Wednesday morning to protect their Second Amendment rights.
The 16-minute class walkout was part of the nationwide Stand for the Second demonstration. Johansen was the only Stanislaus County school listed on the Stand for the Second website as participating.
A small group of Johansen students first gathered in the center of campus to listen to a recording of the national anthem. Among them was freshman Henry Moniz, himself a victim of gun violence on Feb. 16. The students' number grew as they swung by a parent's car to pick up protest signs and flags, then headed out to the Claus Road edge of campus.
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A few nonstudents already were there to join the demonstration, including a couple of Central Valley Patriots group members who invited the teens to join in an upcoming Constitution march.
Stand for the Second was a response to the nationwide school walkouts and marches that arose following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A former student who'd been expelled killed 17 students and staff with an AR-15 style rifle.
The demonstrations that followed called on Congress to pass gun-control legislation, and for government at all levels to do more to ensure campus safety.
With their signs, the Johansen students said gun control isn't the answer, that it serves only to restrict the liberties of law-abiding citizens. One read, "School safety is important. Let's talk real solutions."
Many nationwide walkouts in March and April lasted 17 minutes, one for each life lost in Parkland.
Why 16 minutes for Stand for the Second? In part, because "in the spirit of civility with school districts around the country, we are asking for one minute less than the other side received," its website says.