National School Walkout Day: what you need to know
Channel 3 has spent the day talking to superintendents in our area for information on how each county in the Channel 3 viewing area plans to participate.
There is a national "student walkout" planned for Wednesday. It's considered to be both a memorial for school shooting victims and a protest for action on gun control.
School officials in the Tennessee Valley are trying to balance between listening to their students and keeping their students safe.
The walkout will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday. It will last 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed at Stoneman Douglas High School last month. It's an idea that was shared on social media and quickly spread across the country.
“That could have been us. We are trying to make a statement that this needs to stop,” said Alexis Lazenby, an 11th grade student at CSAS.
Students at Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences are joining a national movement. “We are walking out, we are going to have some speakers, finish it off with a song, and releasing some balloons for the people that passed away,” said Natalie Ervin.
For some, the walk out symbolizes their support for stricter gun regulations. “Only way that we can is if law makers and people that have power, hear our voices. That is how we are trying to do this,” said Lazenby.
For others, it means promoting peace, security and a message to people who think they can tear communities apart with violence. “Even though there is so much happening in the world, one little thing that young people do can make such a big impact. Even though sometimes we feel like our voices aren't heard, just one little thing can make a change in the world,” said 11th grader Genesis Patton.
It's not a mandatory event. Teachers will remain inside the school if students don't want to participate. “Participate if you want to. But be very respectful, and we just want to show we will help lead this change,” said Sileas Balthrop, a 7th grade student.
While some school districts support the walk out. Other's say due to safety concerns, they want students to remain inside. Whitfield County Superintendent Judy Gilreath said students are welcome to participate, but must do so inside the school. She explained her reasons to parents and students in a letter Monday. “Having them gather all in one place, advertise students will be out there, I had concern other people would be coming on the campus that were not members of the school.”
If the walk outs are held inside or outside school grounds, school officials across the Tennessee Valley are excited to see students leading these conversations. “They want to make a difference and this effects them more than any of us. It effects the students and they need to be able to express their opinions.”
Channel 3 has spent the day talking to superintendents in our area for information on how each county in the Channel 3 viewing area plans to participate:
Hamilton County Schools: Students will be allowed to participate in walkouts.
Marion County Schools: Students have scheduled a "peaceful assembly". It will be in house for security reasons.
Cleveland City Schools: Staff will allow any student who chooses to participate in the walkout to do so without any negative consequences. Schools will have designated meeting place, to ensure the students who remain in class will not be disturbed.
Catoosa County Schools: Students will allow to participate in the walkout.
Cherokee County Schools: Students will allow to participate in the walkout.
Chickamauga City Schools: Students can participate in assemblies inside schools. No one will be allowed outside for safety reasons.
Bradley County Schools: On Spring Break
Athens City Schools: Using current platform (FOR- Friends of Rachel) to help students focus on how to be proactive to effect change.
Dade County Schools: Structured activities for students tomorrow at Dade County High School during a 20 minute “time-out”.