Woodburn students to join national walkout

Frederick Owens
March 11, 2018

Rose School in Chelsea have organized a walkout on Weds., March 14, to make a statement about how the federal government is handling gun issues as related to school shootings.

At Patriot High School in Prince William County, students Megan Black and Olivia Mumma said they have worked with administrators to stage a walkout at the high school's stadium.

School officials in Arlington County said they would not penalize students for participating in the walkout.

Gainesville High Principal Tom Smith said that while he is confident in the school system's plan to handle any kind of demonstration, "We want to focus on educating our students".

"Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school", organizers said.

In demanding Congress pass legislation to protect students, they point out that many of those high school students walking out will vote this November, and many others will cast their ballots in 2020.

The district initially warned administrators that students are not allowed to walk out of class, and highlighted the importance of talking with students about how a walkout is not necessary.

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"We don't take a position, we don't take an advocacy role, but we do want to take steps to be sure it's safe and as intended", Liebow said.

The walkouts, scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, at 10 a.m, will honor the 17 people killed in the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla. This week's walkouts, unfolding across the country, are a prelude to a march on Washington planned for March 24 that could bring hundreds of thousands of students to the capital.

Richard Pohlman, executive director of Thurgood Marshall Academy in Anacostia, said teachers are working with students to coordinate a program on gun violence and grief during the walkout.

Safier said it's also important that the administration and school system not formally endorse or sanction a political action and a walkout that runs against school policies. Students are undecided if they will take part in the national walkout. Superintendent Lisa Witte declined to provide information on the district's plan before the nonpublic session but said the discussion would be "a general conversation in case (students) choose to participate" in the walkout.

"It's going to be structured", Beaudoin said, "but we're really trying to put the onus on students who are rising up to be leaders in coordinating an event like this".

Cara Buchanan said the Penguin Hall students were planning to put out a press release and take other steps to get out the word about their actions.

"Every message counts", said Hardin. "This is a chance for them to tell us and tell everyone what they think, and we all need to listen to them when they express their views".

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