On Wednesday, many high school students and a handful of middle school students will walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes.
They’ll be joined by thousands of students across the country taking part in the National School Walkout. As of 2 p.m. Monday, 2,545 walkouts had signed up on the Women’s March Youth Empower website. Many more schools that have not signed up on the site also will be participating.
The walkouts are intended as a memorial for the 17 students and staff who died in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Local schools are taking different approaches to the walkout.
Craig High School: The event was organized by a group of students who registered their march on the national site.
On Monday, Craig High School Principal Alison Bjoin sent an email to parents informing them students would have the right to participate in the event but must follow rules established for the event.
Rules include leaving class quietly, using specified exits and returning to the school and classes at 10:17 a.m.
Students who do not follow the rules will be “subject to disciplinary consequences,” according to the email.
Janesville police and school staff will monitor the event, according to the email.
Cecilia Harold, 15, a sophomore, is helping organize the Craig High School event.
She said students have been asked to leave school property, so they will be using the sidewalks in front of the building.
“The most empowering thing about this is that it is all students’ efforts,” Harold said.
Parker High School: The event is not registered with the national site.
Parker High School staff are using the walkouts as a “teachable moment,” said Chris Laue, Parker principal.
“On Monday and Tuesday, students in English and social studies classes discussed First Amendment rights and the history of nonviolent disobedience,” Laue said.
The walkout will be a structured event, with students gathering in the commons before leaving the building. They will walk around the high school in silence in recognition of those who died.
Students can opt out of the activity.
Students who do not want to take part in the event will leave the classroom at the same time as their peers but will go to a different area of the building, Laue said. That way, they will not feel any pressure to participate in the walkout, he said.
“The whole focus of our event is not political, it’s not about any particular philosophy,” Laue said. “It’s about us coming together to say we want our schools to be safe. There’s no easy solution to fix the problem, but that’s one thing we can all agree on.”
Being safe at school could mean anything from sending in tips on the P3 app to reaching out to students who always seem to be alone.
Delavan-Darien High School: A group of students asked high school administrators if they could participate in the walkout, according to an announcement of the school district’s website.
“The district understands students wishing to voice their views about school violence and exercising their First Amendment right,” Principal Jim Karedes wrote. “We recognize our families may have conflicting opinions about students participating in a ‘walkout’ as a legally protected action; we respect your opinions and encourage you to talk with your student about your personal beliefs as a parent.”
School administrators are meeting with students to plan safety measures, Karedes wrote.
Milton High School: Principal Jeremy Bilhorn said he was aware students had planned a walkout for Wednesday.
Students can leave class if they choose, but they would face a 30-minute detention—the same penalty for leaving class at any other time without an excuse, he said.
Students from other high schools, including Elkhorn Area High School and Badger High School in Lake Geneva, are planning to participate, as well.