Education

These Coast schools will recognize the National School Walkout. But there is a catch.

Students are evacuated by police out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Students at some Coast schools are planning to participate in a walkout Wednesday to show support for the Parkland students and stronger gun control laws.
Students are evacuated by police out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Students at some Coast schools are planning to participate in a walkout Wednesday to show support for the Parkland students and stronger gun control laws. TNS

Wednesday marks the one-month anniversary since 17 people, six of whom were students, were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And to commemorate those who died and lobby for stronger gun control laws, many students across the country will be walking away on Wednesday.

Wednesday is National School Walkout Day, which is being organized by Empower, the youth branch of the Women’s March. The hashtag for the walkout is #Enough.

The walkouts are scheduled at 10 a.m. local time and they will last 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 people who were shot and killed. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that students that participate in the walkouts can be disciplined by their schools.

But what about those who chose to participate in walkouts at Coast schools? Will they be punished? Here’s what you need to know.

The only Coast school that is listed on the Women’s March website as a “walkout school” is Pascagoula High School.

A proactive stance

Many Coast school are planning their own versions of the walkout.

Biloxi High School is planning a “Walk In” Wednesday at 10 a.m. Biloxi School District public information officer Jennifer Pyron said the “walk in” will not only be about the Parkland shooting but a chance for students to hear from local law enforcement.

“This will be an opportunity for our students to honor those lost in the Parkland shooting and to also hear from the Biloxi PD and our school resource officers about safety and awareness,” Pyron said.

Long Beach High School also will host its own event on campus, which will feature student speeches. School public relations director Leigh Anne Biggs said the event is about “positivity, not protest.”

“At Long Beach High School, we are seeing students who want to have a positive impact on their fellow classmates rather than simply protesting,” Bigg said. “Students have met with administrators and are working on a few things, including one large project for that day, which is ‘Posting Positivity’ — they will be making post it notes with positive encouraging messages on them and posting them throughout the school including bathroom mirrors, classroom seats and cafeteria tables. They hope spreading positive messages will have a positive impact on others.”

Gulfport High School principal Michael Lindsey said a short service is planned Wednesday at Gulfport High School.

“We have been monitoring it for the last two weeks,” Lindsey said. “Our students have come up with an alternate plan to a walkout. Students have put together a short get-together before school on Wednesday to honor the victims. It is not a protest or political statement. We are not planning for a walkout at GHS. Our National Honor Society students have planned a week of events for the next week, which is National Youth Violence Prevention Week.”

No disruptions

Those who choose to participate in a walkout at schools in the Harrison County School District could face disciplinary actions. HCSD public relations director Trang Pham Bui said school policy dictates that demonstrations that disrupt the learning environment or interfere with normal operations of the schools are not allowed.. The policy is posted on the district’s website.

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