The students at the National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Middle School in downtown Akron didn’t walk out of the building for National School Walkout Day.

But they still made sure their voices were heard Wednesday.

Students produced a public service announcement, recited the names of the 17 people killed in last month’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., read a poem that cited previous shootings, including Columbine and Sandy Hook and took an anti-bullying pledge during a student-organized presentation in the school’s Great Hall.

“It was the right thing to do,” said eighth-grader Grace Moritz, 14, who was one of the organizers. “We really wanted to participate in this and try to make a change in our school, in our community and in our students.”

Nearly 400 students exited their classrooms at 10 a.m., filed into the Great Hall and sat on the floor to listen to the presentation led by Grace, Gabriel Delgado, 13, Jana Stone, 14, and Noah Smith, 14. School administrators didn’t want students to walk outside because of their age and location, opting instead to offer them a safe space inside to express themselves.

Fifth-graders Emmanuel Cain, 11, Caitlyn Roach 11, and Sophia Davis, 10, led the anti-bullying pledge.

The PSA, written by students, featured the children sharing their message of kindness. It also encouraged students to speak up if they see something amiss.

“Safety is the responsibility of every person in our school,” the students say in the video. “Being safe begins with being kind.”

Principal Amanda Morgan and counselor Sheneeka Rodgers praised the students’ initiative. They also hope the PSA is used in schools throughout the Akron district.

“I’m really proud that they chose to promote a culture of kindness,” Morgan said.

Other young students across the school district participated in the walkouts Wednesday as well.

Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan joined the students who walked out at Jennings Community Learning Center. Students at Case Elementary also participated in the walkout, holding signs with the names of the 17 victims of the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.