EASTHAM — At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nauset Regional High School freshman Shay Risk stood on a snowbank in front of the town’s historic windmill facing Route 6 and the Town Hall across the road. “I AM A 2020 VOTER” her sign proclaimed in red, white and blue lettering.
She had hoped to do the same thing at the same time on the Nauset High football field as part of a national student walkout to protest gun violence, but this week’s snowstorm canceled that. Instead, Risk joined a couple of dozen other people, mostly adults, observing 17 minutes of silence in honor of the 14 students and three teachers who died in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, exactly a month ago.
“I’ve always thought about someday something like that can happen here, since it can happen anywhere,” Risk said.
Lower Cape Indivisible and Indivisible Outer Cape, local chapters of the national Indivisible movement, which has 5,800 chapters nationwide, had scheduled seven “standouts,” demonstrations in support of the student walkouts. With schools closed, the organizations invited students to participate.
Between 25 and 30 people showed up at four of the seven locations for which she had numbers, said Francis Schofield, of Brewster, who helped coordinate the Lower Cape demonstrations.
Making that critical choice of locking down or attempting to run with 20 of her elementary school students, caused Christine Hughes-Prince, a Spanish teacher at Chatham Elementary School, to tear up.
“We all think of this all the time. How do we get kids out of the classroom? How do we save our kids?” asked Hughes-Prince, who was holding a candle and a sign at the Eastham demonstration.
Nauset junior Benten Niggel, 16, who helped organize the student walkout at his school, was disappointed it was postponed but joined the demonstration at the windmill.
“I wanted to go and support them,” he said, of the national student walkout Wednesday.
In Provincetown, school was in session Wednesday, thanks to a generator, and students and teachers in the pre-K through Grade 8 school walked out as part of a planned demonstration.
About 20 students, a handful of teachers, parents and supporters gathered in front of Town Hall at 11 a.m. with a message of gun control reform.
Some students wanted something more: actual practice sessions inside the school in case of an emergency in the future with an intruder.
“We want safety drills,” said student Kayleigh Brown, 14, an eighth-grader.
Catherine McGee, 17, a junior at Sandwich High School and one of the organizers of the walkout at her school, did not participate in any events Wednesday, but said her school walkout would likely be held Friday.
McGee was inspired by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzalez's impassioned address to a Florida gun control rally three days after a former classmate, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, killed students and teachers with an AR-15 assault weapon.
“If you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it's time to start doing something,” Gonzalez told the crowd.
“That’s when I thought, this feels different, because these kids have a voice and can speak out,” McGee said. “It motivated us and kids across the country to speak out and make a difference.”
McGee said she received a lot of comments on social media from adults critical of the planned walkout who suggested that she could do more if she started interacting with students who seemed to be loners.
“Acts of kindness are great, but for the things that lead them to kill 20-plus of their peers, a smile in the hallways is not going to prevent that,” said McGee, who also helped organize the Cape version of the national March For Our Lives demonstration in Hyannis on March 24.
She would like to see school resource officers in every school, early outreach for students exhibiting signs of a mental illness, and a paper trail so that potential school shooters don’t slip through the cracks as Cruz did. McGee also advocates specialized active shooter training in all schools.
Photo Gallery: Cape Codders protest gun violence
“We do believe that other states should have same gun laws as Massachusetts,” McGee said, which includes assault rifle and bump stock bans, and gun licenses issued by local police chiefs.
Sage Barnes, a sophomore at Monomoy Regional High School, said the walkout at the school has been rescheduled for 10 a.m. Friday. She said the students wanted to hold it as close to the National Student Walkout as possible.
— Staff writer Mary Ann Bragg contributed to this report. Follow Doug Fraser on Twitter:@dougfrasercct.