Following a tragic Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that claimed the lives of 14 students and three teachers, Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, parents, school administrators, and allies to take part in a 17-minute #NationalSchoolWalkout at 10 a.m. across every time zone on March 14.
Parkland students made their collective voice unequivocally clear–breathing unprecedented youthful energy into a movement. They demand government get a grip on a gun and mass shooting epidemic. Their essential message: Enough is enough and that Congress must take action on gun control and pass legislation that will keep them safe from gun violence at school, home and places of worship.
Horace Greeley High School’s Hannah Fenlon was moved by the heartfelt response of Parkland high school students to organize a national student walkout.
“When my principal Mr. Rhodes asked whether I, student body president, was interested to help organize and plan Greeley’s student walkout, I surveyed the other members of student government,” Fenlon said via email. “We collectively agreed this event would be a great chance for our school community to come together and stand up for every student’s right to feel safe in school.”
The group is working with student leaders and administrators to safely plan the event, and hope it will be a meaningful tribute in remembrance of the student and staff lives lost that day. “While we decided that our walkout shouldn’t adopt an overtly political agenda, I also hope students will leave feeling empowered and ready to use their voices to spark positive, tangible change,” Fenlon said.
Chappaqua Central School District Superintendent Dr. Christine Ackerman said the district is aware of the National Movement for students to ‘walk-out’ of school on March 14 for 17 minutes in response to the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“While the rationale for individual involvement may be different, from my vantage point the ultimate goal for an event of this nature is to bring heightened awareness to the public regarding student concerns over safety,” Ackerman said.
“This is consistent with Project SAVE law enacted by the New York State Legislature in 2000,” she said. “Our secondary principals are working with our students who wish to part-take in this movement.”
Ackerman said the district sent a notice to families — a different notice based upon the students’ ages — Friday prior to the walkout about how it will handle the day in each building.
“In Chappaqua, we are incredibly fortunate to work with a supportive and involved Town of New Castle leadership team… to collaborate on ways to ensure we are cultivating emotionally and physically safe spaces for our children,” she said. “I look forward to working together with all of our community partners as we continuously look to improve our school district environment.”
Byram Hills CSD Superintendent Jen Lamia said students have been forthcoming, expressing their thoughts, and what we care about is they do this in a safe environment. “Our job as educators has been to educate and keep students safe. As a community, having students work with the administration and share what they’re thinking speaks to us maintaining our schools as safe places.”
Lamia felt, “Students are seeking a way to respond, to be heard, and to unify. Educators must do what we can to hear what students have to say and to keep them safe.”
Although Fox Lane High school in Bedford CSD will be participating, neither district Superintendent Dr. Christopher M. Manno, nor Pleasantville UFSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Fox-Alter — whose district high school is not listed as a participating school —responded to a request for comment.
Robert E. Bell Middle School eighth-grade student Isabelle Good-Ricardo encouraged her peers to participate in the March 14 walkout. Below, Good-Ricardo’s statement shares an encouraging message about evoking positive change in a peaceful way and emphasizes today’s students are making history and are tomorrow’s voters. For Isabelle’s comments, please go to: https://www.theinsidepress.com/bell-school-student-explains-why-the-youngest-voices-protesting-gun-violence-must-also-be-heard/
For general info about the walk and participating schools, please visit https://www.actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/enough-national-school-walkout