A walkout to protest gun violence drew a small response at Clark Intermediate in Clovis, where two students walked out of their classes Wednesday morning.
Melodie English, 12, and Andrija Zabala, 13, walked off the campus at 10 a.m. A teacher who did not wish to be identified was also outside.
"I'm disappointed that not a lot of people showed up, but I'm not surprised," Zabala said. "A lot of people here are very closed-minded and frankly it starts with the teachers."
Around 9:45 a.m., Clark administrators and a campus safety officer began checking the exits for students, but the girls did not find the presence of authority figures intimidating.
"All they can do is maybe yell at us," English said.
English's mother, Molly Tschumy, had signed both girls out of class. Tschumy said the students had school commitments that evening that she wanted them to be able to participate in.
At Clark Intermediate, the walkouts have been a controversial subject. Sandra Erwin, a parent of a Clark student, told The Bee earlier this week Spanish teacher Michael Walker had told his class not to participate in any walkouts because they could draw too much attention and lead to someone getting shot. Walker did not reply to a request for comment.
Clark science teacher Michael Dean, meanwhile, has apologized for encouraging his students to walk out.
Zabala, wearing a T-shirt that said "Honor gun victims with action," said that her cousin had been shot in an incident in Fresno when she was younger. She was disappointed by how her teachers responded to the walkout.
"Why should we live in fear that a shooting could happen?" Zabala said. "Even if we don't walk out, there could be a shooting."
However, Zabala said she does feel she has a support system at home.
"Our moms do a good job of making sure we know what's happening in America," Zabala said.
An email from Clovis Unified went out to parents over the weekend outlining the optional activities schools had planned for National Walkout Day, held one month after the deadly shootings at a Florida high school.
The activities were offered as an alternative to students leaving campus. Some classes will hold discussions and assign writing prompts, while others will hold memorial assemblies in honor of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stone Douglas High.
Erwin and her daughter also participated in the walkout. They brought signs to the school, then walked to Rep. Devin Nunes' office, which is just down the street from the school in Old Town Clovis. Erwin said they were joined by four or five other adults at their protest.