SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - High school students from a number of Bay Area cities gathered in San Francisco for what they described as an emergency rally in response to the mass shooting at a Texas high school on Friday.
The protest was held outside City Hall, but inside, there was a high-school prom.
Many students gathered here for different reasons, but they share a common concern.
Students from Mercy High in Burlingame and their dates arrived for prom, a rite of passage to be celebrated.
"It's the one night we can relax from all the stress; finals, AP exams. We can finally relax and dance the night out," said Madeline Morales.
But they are not completely carefree as other students the same age, stage a protest against gun violence.
A small group of student activists from cities such as Oakland, Berkeley, and Mill Valley rallied in honor of the students who were injured and killed in Texas.
"It was a moment of shock and of course sadness and another wave of disappointment," said Ruby Baden-Lasar, a student rally organizer from Oakland.
Students say enough is enough and they're calling on lawmakers to protect students, not guns.
"We cannot stop until we see some real action. We may be small, but we're mighty," said Lily Conable, a 17-year-old high school student from Alameda.
Rally organizers say their peers may not be able to vote for another year or two.
And until they can go to the polls, they're urging people to elect lawmakers who will support a federal gun restraining order, a ban on assault weapons and an expansion on background checks for all gun purchases.
"I hope that it will show our elected officials that we aren't going to be silent and that we will continue making noise," said Ruby.
The students were joined by parents including one who represents Moms Demand Action, a national group.
The deputy chapter leader for California says this state has strong gun control laws, but that every state needs to have similar legislation in place to protect all children.
"I have children who are ten and twelve. In my opinion, there are no such thing as other people's children," said Celeste Perron with Moms Demand Action.
Madeline, the teen attending prom, says she supports the protest. She said she's paranoid about her safety at school.
"I think about ways to hide. When I'm in a classroom, I think I can hide behind this closet or in this trash bin," said Madeline.
One student spoke out out at the rally, "We are the post-Columbine generation, a generation that has grown up in a culture of violence"
Students say they're sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families,
but that they know well wishes alone are not enough.
They say real change is necessary to save lives.