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Planned vigil turns into unplanned protest by STEM School students

Students walk out of Stem shooting vigil

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. - A vigil put on by the Colorado branch of Team Enough for the STEM School shooting victims and survivors took an unexpected turn Wednesday night at Highlands Ranch High School.

The vigil was beginning to wrap up when students walked out saying the event became about politics and not the tragedy that shook STEM School to its core. 

Multiple speeches were given by students from other local schools, Rep. Jason Crow (D - CO 6th District), and Senator Michael Bennet (D- Colorado).

"They're relying on the rest of us to do our job so they can do their job so these young people can graduate from high school," Bennet said. 

It was near the conclusion of the vigil when several in the crowd yelled asking STEM School students to speak.

It's at that time, the organizers said they tried to get STEM students, but couldn't find any. As students began to walk out, the organizers said they'd try to get an opportunity figured out in the gym's hallway. 

Students and parents gathered in the hallway, chanting and large discussions of politics started taking place.

"It's just about votes and something that doesn't have anything to do with anything," STEM School parent Chris Barrette said. "It's about the victims, the faculty and the first responders, the horror that our students went through just yesterday." 

The students then went back inside the gym and took over the microphone. 

"This was not a vigil, this was merely a political stunt. This is not what we wanted for Kendrick. We didn't want Kendrick to be a prop, we wanted Kendrick to be mourned," One male student said. "We all walked out, we were not kicked out despite what you have heard, now we're back to tell you that we love Kendrick and we love all of the survivors." 

"I came here for my close friend Kendrick," One female student said, "I just wanted to talk about him a little bit and everybody has been here talking about gun violence and avoiding the fact that he died."

The event ended peacefully with the students wrapping up their speaking and walking out. 

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