A SNAPCHAT feature shared across social media has perfectly depicted the immense size and scale of student protests across the United States on Wednesday.

Snapchat is particularly popular among teens and young adults and as high school students staged walkouts to demand action on gun violence, a feature on the app showed the immensity of the movement.

The feature lets users locate friends and events on a map with a heat map for context showing the popularity of the event among active users. It then lets you tap the event for footage.

The dotted map shared by many on social media was the result of 3000 demonstrations across the country, a wave of protests one historian called the largest of its kind in American history.

 

The walkouts are a part of a larger, ongoing protest that has sprung from the latest school shooting in America when 17 people were gunned down in Parkland, Florida last month.

The students carried signs with messages like "Never again" and "Am I next?"

They railed against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the politicians who support the powerful organisation.

The demonstrations extended from Maine to Hawaii as students joined the youth-led surge of activism which clogged up social media.

The student protests dominated the Snapchat Maps feature, as one user pointed out the "walkouts are basically the only events showing up".

 

Students around the nation left class at 10am local time on Wednesday for at least 17 minutes - one minute for each of the dead in the Florida shooting. Some led marches or rallies on sporting fields, while others gathered in school gyms or got down on one knee in the hallway.

At some schools, hundreds of students poured out. At others, just one or two walked out in defiance of administrators, the Associated Press reported.

While administrators and teachers at some schools applauded students for taking a stand - and some joined them - others threatened punishment for missing class.

Several hundred Edmond Santa Fe High School students in Oklahoma chose to participate in a symbolic 17-minute walkout. Picture: Jim Beckel
Several hundred Edmond Santa Fe High School students in Oklahoma chose to participate in a symbolic 17-minute walkout. Picture: Jim Beckel

The students are calling on government officials to enact tighter gun controls including mandatory background checks for all gun sales and a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the Florida school massacre.

"We'd like to let these powerful walkouts organised by students speak for themselves," a representative for Snapchat told CNET. "And we're glad that the Snap Map is one of the many tools people are using today to make their voices heard nationwide."

Meanwhile, the NRA responded to the protests by posting a photo on Twitter of a black rifle emblazoned with an American flag. The caption: "I'll control my own guns, thank you."

 

- With AP

Students at Brophy College Preparatory high school in Arizona prayed as they gathered. Picture: Ross D. Franklin
Students at Brophy College Preparatory high school in Arizona prayed as they gathered. Picture: Ross D. Franklin
Steven Gong, left, a student at San Francisco’s Lowell High School speaks to a group of demonstrators during a rally and march against gun violence. Picture: Marcio Jose Sanchez
Steven Gong, left, a student at San Francisco’s Lowell High School speaks to a group of demonstrators during a rally and march against gun violence. Picture: Marcio Jose Sanchez
Students from high schools in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and surrounding towns stand with signs in Park Square on Wednesday. Picture: The Berkshire Eagle
Students from high schools in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and surrounding towns stand with signs in Park Square on Wednesday. Picture: The Berkshire Eagle

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