Protesting students will walk out of class — how one local school plans to respond

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Tyra Heman, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, holds a sign outside the campus (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — Organizers from the ENOUGH movement, a group of primarily teenage activists, have a national school walkout planned to call on tighter gun laws from Congress, and schools across the country are grappling with how to handle the protests.

The walkouts are scheduled for March 14, the one-month anniversary of a deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, and are planned to last seventeen minutes — one for every life taken in the school shooting.

At Thurgood Marshall Middle School, the administration is hoping to avoid students walking out of class or off the school’s campus by providing alternative activities, including a moment of silence for victims of every school shooting this year, and class discussions designed to give students a chance to “voice their ideas and concerns regarding gun violence.”

Principal Michelle Irwin told parents in a letter that while, “legally we cannot forbid students from leaving our campus,” the school does not condone walkouts due to safety concerns.

With that said, Irwin added that students won’t be penalized for walking out, and that they will have an opportunity to make up any missed classwork.

Irwin hopes that the on-campus alternatives, however, will “promote a positive learning community” without leaving the confines of school grounds.

Schools across the country run the spectrum in their response to the walkouts. Some mirror Thurgood Marshall’s approach of providing organized alternatives; some have warned that leaving campus will carry serious penalties.

How do your students plan to handle the walkouts, and what ideas have you heard from schools to handle the display of civil disobedience?

Share your thoughts below:

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