Lowcountry school districts prioritize safety ahead of National Walkout Day

Lowcountry school districts prioritize safety ahead of National Walkout Day
Some school districts have announced plans for National School Walkout Day (Source: Pixabay)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On Wednesday March 14, students at schools across the country are planning to participate in National School Walkout Day.

It's a protest and memorial to honor the lives of the 17 people shot and killed at Marjorie-Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida last month.

People participating in the walkout plan to leave classrooms for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. as a display of solidarity.

Some students and possibly some teachers plan to walk out. Many are calling on lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws in hopes of preventing school shootings.

"I think it's a good way to draw attention to the issue it's important that people understand what's going on and what we need to do do to fix it," West Ashley High School student Jo Jo Lonyo said.

Students at West Ashley High School say the administration has plans in place to make the walkout organized and safe.

"It's supposed to be really controlled," Lonyo said.

Some districts in other parts of the state won't allow their students to walk out at all.

Another student, Rodney Graham, says he hopes for a change in gun laws and he believes that his school supports the students.

"A massacre, a shooting comes home to me because I'm a member of Mother Emanuel AME Church where we were impacted by that," Graham said. "It's something that should have been changed since then on, but nothing has and so we have to work harder to get that done."

He says West Ashley High has made security changes since the shooting. He along with other students are thankful to have the support of their school and teachers.

"He told us to do it if you stand with the people and are doing it for the right purpose," Graham said.

While school districts in the Lowcountry are preparing for the walkout in different ways, most districts say each school is coordinating its individual efforts while prioritizing the safety of the students.

Dorchester District 2

District Officials say the information will be coming soon on how the schools will manage the walk out.

Charleston County School District

The Charleston County School District Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait says she supports students who plan to participate in the walkout. She is working with the principals of participating schools to make sure there is a plan in place to ensure students' safety. District Officials say they will be releasing more information on Tuesday.

Berkeley County School District

Officials with the Berkeley County School District released the following statement Tuesday evening:

As you may be aware, there have been national, state and local discussions regarding a March 14 Student Walk Out. Upon receipt of legal advice from our District counsel and review of BCSD Board policy, the District cannot promote any political protest or do any such act that transforms our schools into arenas for political activity. Although the District believes in the democratic process, promoting or permitting one protest necessarily would cause the District to have to do the same for other protests.

Accordingly, the District will operate pursuant to district policy and disciplinary procedures regarding the March 14 Student Walk Out. However, middle and high schools will recognize a 170 second moment of silence beginning at 10 am tomorrow to remember the lives lost in school shootings across our nation.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our district office at 843-899-8600.

Dorchester District 4

District officials say thought it might be dangerous for students to walk outside during the walkout, they are allowing students to participate by walking to the gym.

Georgetown County School District

The Director of Communications says middle and high school students will be allowed to walk out of their classes between 10 a.m. and 10:17 a.m. Wednesday morning, but they are encouraged to stay indoors for their safety.

Colleton County School District

District officials say participating schools will pause to recognize the victims of the Florida high school shooting and there are plans in place for the students to honor them.

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