PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of students in the Portland metro area walked out of school on Friday protesting gun violence — asking lawmakers to do something to make them feel safer at schools.

The walkouts come in the wake of the country’s deadliest elementary school shooting in nearly a decade. On Tuesday, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 students and two of their teachers.

School is stressful enough as it is, but to see mass shootings play out so frequently in public places in America, demonstrators say there are ways lawmakers can prevent it from happening to them.

While students should be focusing on math and social studies — they told KOIN 6 News they are forced to speak out about ending school shootings.

Students at the International School of Beaverton, Tiffany Frontado, Nicole Frontado and Venus Nova, organized and coordinated the school walkout with Aloha High School.

“We want to end this violence,” Nicole Frontado said. “We need more gun regulation; we need to feel secure at school.”

Nicole and her sister Tiffany grew up in Venezuela, they came to America for a better life.

“We’re asking for this because we came from a country very full of violence; we are Venezuelans. We came here to feel safe in this country,” Nicole said. “We don’t think it’s OK for Congress to not worry about our safety at school.”

Meanwhile, Nova highlighted the fact that there are various avenues of protesting teenagers can partake in.

“So many teenagers have access to social media. Advocating and voicing your feelings doesn’t just have to be done by actively walking out and protesting, but can also be done by educating peers and using social media as a way to advocate for your rights,” Nova explained. “Knowing that I have a fairly big platform, especially on social media, I know that I can reach as many people as I can by sharing and educating others by reposting and actively talking about real-world problems through social media.

She said we need more individuals to use their platforms to advocate and fight for the future.

“From a 15-year-old to all you teens — please, please, please — no matter how big or small your social media is, use your platform to promote the promise of a peaceful world,” Nova concluded.

A fellow classmate, Chloe Rodrigues, is a sophomore at the International School of Beaverton, she said the latest mass murder with an assault rifle shows that their anxiety about this violence is their reality.

“Just the other day the fire alarm got pulled, and the fact that it wasn’t a sign to get to safety for me — it was a sign of ‘Oh is there a fire? Or is there a shooter in the school?’” Rodrigues explained.

Nearby, Southridge High School students held a moment of silence for those killed in Texas and call for lawmakers to act.

On the other side of town, kids and teachers at Kellogg Middle School in southeast Portland also walked out, holding signs and chanting to end school shootings.

Jennifer Merrill, a parent of a 7th grader said “200 and some mass shootings, this year so far, we need to stop, it’s too much, my kids need to feel safe going to school, we need to feel safe going to the grocery store, laws need to be changed.”

Barbara Heimann, who is visiting from Texas, said “I’m actually from Texas and I support these kids out here, I think they’re very brave, I’m sad that they have to do this because us adults aren’t helping them with this.”

Students like Rodrigues are calling on lawmakers to pass comprehensive gun regulations.

“They’ve been stalling for so long,” Rodrigues said. “It’s painful to see that whole generation of students is accustomed to doing this.” 

She hopes Congress hears their cries loud and clear.

Students told KOIN 6 News they will not stop here. Some are planning a March for our Lives demonstration at City Hall on June 11.