March 14 (UPI) -- Thousands of students marched outside Congress and the White House Thursday as a show against gun violence in schools.
The Montgomery County, Md., students organized the march to call for tougher gun control laws, like those in House Resolution 8, which calls for universal background checks.
The students call themselves MoCo Students for Change and encouraged students from other D.C.-area schools to join them. Many took mass transit to get to the city.
The mass of students marched in front of the White House and U.S. Capitol.
Florida Rep. Ted Deutch -- whose district includes Parkland, where more than a dozen people were killed in a shooting last year -- was set to speak at the rally. Also scheduled to speak is Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who represents Newtown, the site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 26 in 2012.
Thursday's event comes a year after a national walkout in which thousands of students rallied against gun violence. Last year's protest culminated in the March For Our Lives rally for gun reform.
Montgomery County School officials discouraged the walkout and said absences will not be excused.
"While we support student advocacy and are proud of students when they speak out for what they believe in, we want students who wish to engage in the civic process during school hours to do so at school, in a supportive and safe learning environment," the school district said.