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Students gather at Laurier for March for Our Lives solidarity rally

Last Updated Mar 25, 2018 at 5:30 am EDT

Photo by 570's Khalil Hassanali.

A group of students at Wilfrid Laurier and members of the public are joining the call for action to end all forms of school violence.

The March for Our Lives rally took place on the concourse outside the bookstore, with more than 50 people in attendance.

The rally comes just days after a scary threat was found on a bathroom stall at a Kitchener high school.

Student organizer Rupinder Mangat says people in Canada are not immune to the violence they see.

“When people in the United States are hurting, I think Canadians always feel it in their hearts too. When the kids from Parkland, Florida decided to march, as Canadians, it felt like ‘these could be our kids, these could be our friends’. We need to show solidarity.”

This week, Regional Police investigated an act of vandalism threatening a shooting at Huron Heights Secondary School. OPP Sgt Peter Leon says provincial police are concerned about the recent spate of violent threats against schools in Ontario, which have been spiking since last month’s deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

In the province’s central division, OPP conducted six separate investigations into school threats made on social media, resulting in charges for five youth — Leon adds the sixth investigation involved a child who was too young to be charged.

In Wellington County, a 16-year-old student at Erin District High School was arrested on Thursday for carrying an imitation firearm and openly telling his peers he had a gun.

“These are very serious times,” Leon says. “In light of recent events that have happened stateside, law enforcement in Ontario and right across Canada have to take these threats very seriously as well.”

Mangat says local peace organizations will be at Saturday’s rally to talk about how the problem of guns has extended beyond the U.S.

Leon says it’s important young students understand how serious these investigations are, and that they will be held accountable.