Published: Sun, March 11, 2018

Schools prepare for March 14 walkout over mass shootings

Schools prepare for March 14 walkout over mass shootings

Plans to organize a national walkout came from the same motivation, with Wednesday's event scheduled for the one-month anniversary of the shooting in which 17 people were killed.

Though it's unclear if students from the Monadnock Region will participate in school walkouts planned across the nation next week, area school administrators are preparing for the possibility.

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

L.J. Garcia, a senior at Freedom High in Loudoun, said students will walk laps around the school's track at lunch. "Students who participate in a school-authorized walkout activity and return to class at its conclusion will not be subject to discipline", Provost said.

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. "We want to make sure that those who want to express themselves are safe". "The issue of gun violence has continually been pushed to the side by politicians across the country, so our walkout is an opportunity to show them that students are exhausted of this inaction and lack of a real discussion".

"Our strategy has been to support them in a way that ensures they have their voices heard but doesn't pose safety issues", Montgomery school district spokesman Derek Turner said.

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.

Those who do take part will be given a piece of paper on which to write why they are doing so. 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.

"We feel it's really an important part of learning democracy and something we want to support in our students", she said.

As of Friday, D.C. Public Schools did not have a policy or guidance available on how it will handle the walkouts.

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.

"It's not on my radar", she said Tuesday.

"I will be the first one to want to read every one of them", Teixeira said.

Teixeira, who also sits on the Essex Tech School Committee, met with Enos and other students outside the school administration building last week.

Several schools are using this type of alternative out of concerns for student safety by keeping associated activities inside school buildings. We hope to avoid any perceived "need' to have walkouts by listening now".

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