Wednesday, on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting, the group behind the Women’s March on Washington is asking school children across the country to walk out of class for 17 minutes, starting at 10 a.m.
At least five local high schools, including Columbia River, Camas, Battle Ground and Fort Vancouver have signed up for tomorrow’s walkout. Other schools say they’re aware of the fact that students may decide to walk out at 10 a.m.
In a letter to parents, Ridgefield High School principal Christen Palmer said they’re aware of the possibility of a walkout, and another regional effort to gather at the state capitol to push for gun reform.
“When students advocate for an issue they feel passionate about,” the statement reads, “it can be a powerful learning experience. We also recognize that some students may not want to participate in a walkout and would prefer to stay in class. We want to ensure that all students feel safe and respected, no matter what they choose to do.”
Palmer says they’re encouraging students to remain on campus, for their well-being. Classes at Ridgefield High School will continue as scheduled, even if students decide to walk out. Palmer also urged parents to talk with their kids about school safety, and whether the student should participate in the walkout. Ridgefield School District is holding a Safety Night Open House at the high school commons Wednesday evening from 5-7 p.m, and is encouraging parents and students to attend.
Evergreen High School, while not on the official list of walkouts, expects a number of students to participate. ESD Superintendent Dr. John Steach sent a letter home with students to inform parents of the district’s position on the possible walkout.
As part of a recently implemented set of student expectation policies adopted by the Evergreen School Board,” says Steach, “is one regarding citizenship that includes a section stating ‘students will understand how to appropriately advocate for change.’ The nationally planned 17 minute silent walkout on March 14 can be viewed as a learning opportunity for informed and motivated students to discuss intent, method, and overall impact as well as the exploration of what other actions could be taken in place of, or in addition to, a walkout. If a student-led walkout does occur in our schools, the top concern is that we maintain a safe and secure learning environment for all and we are putting plans in place to ensure this.