As students assembled and spoke out about Wednesday’s National School Walkout Day, they found they had different motives.

Some wanted to stand in solidarity with the victims of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month. Some wanted to use it as a platform to call for stricter gun control. Others simply wanted to get out of class — and some didn’t want to participate at all.

It created a frustration that Kent-Roosevelt Principal Dennis Love and Superintendent George Joseph said they wanted to address in a short meeting with the entire school after the walkout.

“We all wanted to make sure students had their voices heard,” Joseph said.

Kent Roosevelt High School was one of thousands of schools nationally that participated in walkouts at 10 a.m. Students walked out of their schools for 17 minutes to honor the 17 people who died in the school shooting Feb. 14 in Parkland, Fla.

“There were a good number of students who wanted to protest,” Love said. “It was hard to say ‘no.’?”

As students walked throughout the halls, student council members handed out orange flyers. On the flyers were links to petitions advocating for anti-gun violence, a list of phone numbers for Ohio representatives and steps people can take to get involved.

“We had [a lot of] backlash that the walkout wasn’t going to do anything,” said Barbara Hickens, vice president of student council. “That’s why we made the flyers.”

Cold temperatures and piercing winds did not stop the students from gathering outside on school grounds and holding handmade signs. On one of them, it said, “How many kids have to die?”

During the protest, chants rang out: “What do we want? Change. When do you want it? Now.”

Laura Garner, treasurer of the school’s student council, stood on top of the podium to read the names of the Florida school shooting victims. There also was a moment of silence for the victims.

Students then assembled in the auditorium with nearly 1,300 people filling almost every seat in the room.

“Everybody has a different reason,” Love said. “That’s why I thought it’d be a good idea to get everyone together in the auditorium … to let them know it’s okay to have different thoughts on the walkout.”

Love stood on stage and addressed how important it is to have their voice heard. More students then got together to say a quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., calling on others to serve and invoke change.

Members of the school choir and its director Cory Fowler came up to the stage next, singing a mixed rendition of I Love You and What A Wonderful Life.

Students who chose not to participate stayed inside the building with other faculty members.

The purpose for the walkout was debated among kids during an open student forum that Love held earlier this month.

Love continued to meet with student council representatives, who spearheaded the walkout, in the days leading up to Wednesday.

They worked together to come up with a plan for the day so students can safely and peacefully express themselves.

Several officers from the Kent Police Department monitored the areas the students were in to ensure their safety.

Love said it’s hard to anticipate what might happen next after the walkout.

“By tomorrow, anything can happen,” he said. “There may be other walkouts. There may be other methods. I guess only time will tell.”

Brandon Bounds can be reached at 330-996-3762 or bbounds@thebeaconjournal.com Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.