Local schools prepare for National School Walkout day of student protest

With school shootings on the rise, students and teachers across America search for answers.

"One was too many, but now that they're repeating themselves, I think it's very emotional," says Ronie Collins, the President and High School Principal at St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School. "We feel badly for their families. We're afraid."

A social media call to action - "National School Walkout" - asks students to leave their classrooms for 17 minutes Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. honoring the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida high school massacre.

"The walkout, I think, is them trying to get the attention of people through our government and hopefully take some stand of action," says St. Anne-Pacelli High School senior Matthew Dawahare.

St. Anne-Pacelli administrators have been working with students to plan a peaceful demonstration Wednesday. Principal Collins says students, teachers and staff will all walk out together to the school's football field where they will have 17 members represent the Parkland victims.

"We plan to read out every student's name and release a balloon for them and say a Hail Mary for that particular individual," says Principal Collins.

"It is definitely something that could be seen politically, but this is us praying together as we've been raised to do our entire lives more for the repose of souls than for any other reason," says Dawahare.

The Harris County School District tells News 3's Mikhaela Singleton teachers will monitor the planned walkout, but their students will otherwise be allowed to protest as long as they remain on campus. Harris County High School Principal Todd Stanfill says he and the administration believe it is important the students be allowed to express themselves and raise their concerns during a very emotional time.

Troup County will also allow supervised walkouts. However, Muscogee County School District representatives say any student who leaves class, to protest or otherwise, will be in violation of the code of conduct.

Instead, the district has worked with state legislators to coordinate a "Speak Up! Sit in." initiative. Student delegates have been selected from middle and high schools around Muscogee County to represent the student body and ask legislators their questions via video conference. The meeting will then be live streamed to every local classroom and on Facebook for students to watch.

"When you walk out, we don't know where they're walking to or what they're walking into ... Once they come into our doors, we're responsible for their safety," says Communications Director Mercedes Parham.

Other surrounding school districts are either on spring break or have not yet returned reporter calls.

Georgia News

Alabama News

Latest Stories

Video Center