Forest High Students to hold ‘Never Again' rally Wednesday

Less than a week after they found themselves in the middle of a school shooting, students at Forest High School in Ocala will rally for change.

On Monday morning senior Caitlan Dickey got a permit approved by the City of Ocala to hold a Never Again rally on the downtown Square Wednesday afternoon.

Dickey, co-founder of Never Again Ocala, had planned to lead her fellow students in a similar rally Friday morning at their school. The event was to coincide with similar walk outs across the country to fight school shootings, but that obviously didn’t happen.

"We didn't get an opportunity to walk out against gun violence: we became a victim of gun violence,” said Dickey.

On Friday, a gunman entered the school and fired a single shot, striking a 17 year-old boy in the ankle before surrendering to police. 19 year-old former student Sky Bouche has since admitted to the crime and is currently in the Marion County Jail awaiting trial.

Dickey said she was near the front of the school when the incident happened and never heard the shot, but she was locked down near the front offices as the school went into a code red lockdown.

"I came to school Friday with a sign that said 'I don't want to text my mom ‘I love you’ from under a desk,' and that's actually exactly what I had to do,” said Dickey. "I watched men with very large guns come running into our school and you knew immediately that something was wrong."

So Dickey and co-founder Anna Ross began organizing the new rally as soon as their classmates were safe on Friday. They plan to have speakers at the event and call for action to change the current situation on school safety.

"Honestly there's really nothing else you can do right now,” said Ross. “You can either sit and watch this happen, with whatever viewpoint you can hold, or you can do something about it."

The rally will be held Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the Downtown Ocala Square.