STEM School students walk out of planned vigil, frustrated by political talk

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Students and parents walked out of a planned vigil for STEM School Highlands Ranch students Wednesday, when they said the conversation turned into political theater.

Nine students were shot by two of their classmates just before 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. One of those students, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, was killed. Eight others were injured.

The event was originally described as “an interfaith memorial vigil,” to be hosted at nearby Highlands Ranch High School.

Some students that are part of a group called Team ENOUGH organized the vigil. Team ENOUGH is a youth program that is part of the Brady Campaign, a national organization that advocates for stricter gun control laws and gun violence prevention efforts.

Student organizers said they wanted to provide an opportunity for the community to come together and heal. Many students at Highlands Ranch High School are close friends with students at STEM, and both communities are mourning.

The event also featured two Democratic politicians, Colorado Congressman Jason Crow and Senator Michael Bennet. Moms Demand Action, a group that advocates for gun control legislation, also had representatives at the event.

STEM students who came to the event said they were frustrated to hear politicians speak, and grew angry as the conversation turned to gun control and policy. A large group stormed out of the event in protest. They demanded an opportunity to speak and were upset they weren’t given the chance earlier.

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