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Teachers back walkout protesting gun violence

14 March 2018

An Ohio teenager wounded in a school shooting past year says he thinks it's disrespectful to victims of the February massacre in Parkland, Florida, to use that tragedy to further a particular political agenda.

This nationwide action is one of several protests planned for coming weeks. However, they have been invited to complete an online survey about school safety.

More than 50 percent of high school students plan to walk out for the "National School Walkout", according to a survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep.

Boston students plan to march on the State House today to advocate for gun control, undaunted by Boston Public Schools' closure in the wake of yesterday's blizzard, and joining a vast nationwide movement of students. The objective that has been recognized by our students as well as students nationwide is to demonstrate to congress that America's youth holds a passion in our hearts for preventing mass gun violence and that we as a society are calling into question the current policy on weapons in America. Wednesday's national walkout, organized by Women's March Youth Empower, has almost 3,000 schools participating.

In Parkland, students slowly filed onto the Stoneman Douglas school football field as law enforcement officers looked on.

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Thousands of schools around the country planned protests - including 15 in Hampton Roads.

On the social media pages for the Women's March Youth Empower, the group helping to coordinate Wednesday's walkouts, more than 150,000 students have indicated interest in taking part, said organizer Fatima Younis, a student at Frederick Community College in Maryland.

It is all an effort to keep the schools safe and secure learning environment for our students.

But some vowed to walk out anyway.

"Change never happens without backlash", said Kara Litwin, a senior at Pope High School in the Cobb County School District.

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"I am anxious about it, but I would rather fight for what's right then a little suspension", said Sayreville student Sydney Calder. "For me personally this is something I believe in, this is something I will go to the ends of the Earth for".

Other schools sought a middle ground, offering "teach-ins" or group discussions on gun violence.

Barker is setting up a Google document where students can enter their concerns and suggestions on how the campus can be safer.

Some students may face punishment for missing class. Schools have shown varying degrees of acceptance: The superintendent for Needville Independent School District in Texas, for example, last month threatened students engaging in "any type of protest or awareness" with a three-day suspension.

Schools can issue unexcused absences, assign extra work or discipline students who don't adhere to school policy, but non-disruptive, organized protests and walkouts are protected.

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"We want this to be about our kids and what they are feeling", Nolte said.

Teachers back walkout protesting gun violence