A North Carolina teen who joined Wednesday’s nationwide walkout movement found himself all alone when he got outside.
Tenth grader Justin Blackman was the only one of Wilson Preparatory Academy’s 700 students to participate in the school walkout in support of gun law reform.
“I wasn’t surprised because I asked around before most people didn’t even know about it and the ones that did thought they were going to get in trouble so they had said they weren’t going to go outside,” Blackman told InsideEdition.com.
But the 16-year-old didn’t get in trouble. He said the school superintendent affirmed his decision when he returned after 17 minutes.
“When I came back in, he said, ‘You had the right to do that,'” Blackman recalled.
Though he was alone outside after leaving Spanish class, Blackman said other students at Wilson Prep were with him in spirit.
“They were in the class and they stopped class for 17 minutes,” he said.
Likewise, thanks in part to the interconnected world in which these teens have been raised, Blackman was with those affected by shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“I was touched by it because so many happened and then this one, there’s a YouTuber that used to go to that school and I used to watch her a while ago and I was like, ‘Wow, she goes to that school. She could have died there,'” he said.
The Parkland shooting victims served as an inspiration for Blackman, along with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors who descended on Washington soon after the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives.
“They seemed like they were good people,” he said. “They had fun. They were, it’s just sad how they were losing their life before they went into adulthood.”