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Photos: Minnesota students walk out, join national gun violence protest

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Evelyn Ryan, left, and Jordan Nelson, right, embrace.
Roseville High School juniors Evelyn Ryan, left, and Jordan Nelson, right, embrace as the names of the students killed are read. "It feels strange. It's my sister's birthday, and they were talking about being someone's sister," Ryan said.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Updated: 1:05 p.m. | Posted: 5:49 a.m.

Students and staff in dozens of Minnesota schools walked out of their classes at 10 a.m. Wednesday to honor the victims of last month's school shooting in Florida and to call for tougher gun-control laws.

The protest, part of a coordinated national demonstration, was expected to span 17 minutes, one minute for each of the students and staff members shot and killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

At Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minn., the walkout was expected to last 19 minutes. Two students were shot and killed by a classmate in 2003. The two additional minutes will honor victims Aaron Rollins and Seth Bartell. 

Their walkout is geared more toward preventing gun violence rather than advocating for stricter gun control.

"If someone is alone or an outcast, it would be going out of your way to talk to them," senior Rachel Theisen told MPR News Wednesday morning. "Walking up to someone, someone who you wouldn't usually talk to and just saying, 'Hey, is everything OK? Let's talk.'" 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.