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Schools prepare for student participation in gun walkout / March 12, 2018
Halifax County students who choose to participate in a 17-minute school walkout Wednesday to protest gun violence in the wake of the Florida school shooting can do so without facing repercussions in the classroom, although it is unclear how many students are actually interested in taking part.

Students, teachers and school administrators across the U.S. are being asked to participate in the March 14 walkout starting at 10 a.m. The 17-minute duration is meant to honor the 17 students and school employees who were killed by a 19-year-old gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. The walkout marks the one-month anniversary of the massacre.

Virginia education officials have developed guidelines encouraging school divisions to plan for the event and educate students on the tenets of free expression and civic engagement. The walk-out is not meant to be an excuse for skipping class; instead, it is intended to give students a broader voice in the debate over gun violence and gun safety.

Billed as #Enough National School Walkout, the event is being organized by Women’s March Youth in protest to what they say is “Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg said he supports the students and encourages them to use their voices for change. “Our students are active and smart, and their voices deserve to be heard,” Lineburg said.

Lineburg said he is confident that the administration of both the high school and middle school are well-equipped to accommodate any student or student groups who express interest in participating in the walkout.

Halifax County Middle School principal Michael Lewis strongly supports his “exceptional” student body if any members choose to take part in the protest. “Our job is that if there is something important to the students — something they want to support — we should do all we can to support them.".

Halifax County Middle School principal Magie Wilkerson said to date, middle school student leaders have not communicated their walkout intentions with administration. However, plans will be in place to “safely and productively” handle student activity on March 14, she said in an emailed statement.

As of Friday, no students or student groups have openly expressed interest in being part of the walkout, school officials said.

However, if it happens, Lineburg said the administration of Halifax County’s secondary schools will be prepared and capable to support the students and keep them safe.

Late last week, acting Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Constantino issued guidelines encouraging each school division “to plan ahead for this event, and for a similar walkout planned by another organization for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School.”

The guidelines are consistent with recommendations developed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals to help officials overcome the conflict they face, between supporting student voices and fulfilling their custodial duties when “free expression evolves into an organized protest or walkout during school hours.” The recommendations are an amalgam of policies developed in the past few years by schools that faced prior walkouts.

In accordance with these polices, Constantino suggested school officials should begin an early dialogue with student leaders organizing the walkout, sharing with them relevant school polices and potential consequences for violating the rules.

He also encouraged schools to designate an on-campus location where participants may gather for the 17-minute event.

This will minimize disruption to instruction and better enable law enforcement and school resource officers to protect students, he said.

Students need to be told, in advance, that law enforcement officials might be at the event for safety reasons, not to quell any expression of First Amendment rights — both for those supporting as well as opposing the stated objectives of the walkout. As this is a “teachable moment” students should be prepared to hear and advised to be considerate of those who wish to express opposite viewpoints or choose not to participate.

School is about teaching, and learning is a priority for all students, Constantino said, adding that student activism is a part of the learning process. He described the walkout as a way for students to take what they are learning in school and making it real.

“When kids are passionate about an issue, it is an opportunity for educators to help students see the connection between curriculum and real life,” Constantino stated.

Notifying parents before the walkout is critical, said Constantino. It is equally important to provide written guidance for principals, administrators and faculty, he said, to ensure consistency in the application of division policies for students who choose to participate in the protest.

Since the planned walkout could impact SOL testing, schools have been advised to remain flexible, and if need be contact the Department of Education about rescheduling the tests.

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Listen boys and girls, when you or your friends listen to music about killing robbing and raping, watch Hollywood movies about killing, robbing, and raping, play video games 6 to 8 hours per day about killing, robbing, and raping, take SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) drugs whose warning label claims to cause manic behavior and suicidal thoughts don't be surprised when all that training kicks in. Leave my guns alone and please get all this pretending out of your system before graduation.


You so called school system leaders (Lewis, Lineburg, and Wilkerson)need your heads examined. Your job is to educate kids and not be enabling communist front groups like the ones behind Womens March. I suspect some of your relatives put on a U.S. military uniform and fought directly or indirectly against communist scum. They would be ashamed and so should you for not doing your homework.


So now the generation that eats soap is telling us how to read the constitution. Why is the commie group that leads these marches allowed to disrupt the school day? Kids have a right to protest, but on their own time. What would happen if you did this at work?


The NRA are the largest terrorist organization in the world, and they control out government. Those that keep invoking their rights under the Second Amendment should re-read it, and take it in the context under which it was adopted. This amendment was promoted as an alternative to a standing army, that alternative was "Well REGULATED Militias". Hooray for the students who are the only ones in this stupid argument acting like true Americans. P.S. The Founding Fathers were 100% against a standing army... if you invoke them as your excuse, can we dispose of the US Military in all its forms also?


Tell it to the Jews!


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