Philly-area students expected to walk out against gun violence
School District leaders encourage principals to create safe area for students walking out, and not punish those who participate.
Several schools in the Philadelphia area have already signed up to participate in nationwide walkouts next week, organized in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, that left 17 students and teachers dead.
On March 14, students around the country are expected to walk out of their schools for 17 minutes, in honor of the Parkland victims, as part of the "#Enough: National School Walkout," and to demand action from political leaders to curb the ongoing crisis of mass and school shootings in the U.S.
The School District of Philadelphia has asked principals to designate "safe areas" for students participating in the walk-outs, and directed that no School District students participating in this walk-out will face disciplinary action.
"As a reminder, should students choose to walk-out, discipline should not be imposed," Superintendent Dr. William Hite said in a letter to School District principals on the matter. "Students participating in the walk-out are expected to re-enter the building and the school should resume normal activities following the walk-out. This is for the safety and protection of all including those remaining in the school and to reduce building disruptions."
Hite will be sending a letter to School District parents this week to notify them about the planned walk-out as well and ask parents who do not want their children to participate to notify their school by March 12.
The School District is also encouraging schools to consider complementary activities for March 14, such as assemblies with guest speakers, essay writing contests, art projects or small group discussions, as ways to promote discussion among student "in a safe and supportive way."
"We support student's rights to self-expression and awareness of social issues," Hite wrote in his letter to principals. "Please remind students to be respectful of students on campus who may not wish to participate, and/or students who may hold opposing views to those shared during the event."
Visit actionunited.org for the full national list of planned walk-outs on March 14.
A separate event, the planned 'March for Our Lives,' is scheduled to take place on March 24 in Washington DC.
The full list of schools at which 'walk-outs' have reportedly been organized on actionunited.org is below.