Students across the country participate in ‘National School Walkout’

Published 4:53 pm Friday, April 20, 2018

Across the country, high school students were able to make their voices heard about school safety and gun control.

To recognize the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, students participated in the National Walkout Day on Friday, April 20. Over 2,600 walkouts reportedly took place Friday and according to the National Walkout Day website the event was organized by students for the purpose of “walking out for those who lost their lives to gun control violence, to talk about real problems our country is facing, and to find solutions that our leaders have failed to address.”

Reportedly at Elizabethton High School, students were able to walk out of class around 10 a.m., while still inside the school, to show their support for the cause and to remember those affected from the recent Parkland shooting in Florida. The Elizabethton Star received information on the event from a student via social media.

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After arriving at the school, administration informed the Elizabethton Star that no media organizations were permitted at EHS for the event. A spokesperson for Elizabethton City Schools said the system would not be issuing a statement about the event either.

According to state officials, it is encouraged that students utilize their rights for peaceful assembly and free expression.

“We are always proud of our young people in Tennessee, and we support their constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free expression. The department does not promote or advocate for walkouts, but we have offered suggestions to districts, at their request, on how they can make moments like today a safe and positive learning experience for everyone. We are glad to see our educators handle these student-led situations in a way that protects their safety and honors the rights of every student, including those who do and do not wish to participate, and respects the views of every member of the school community,” a spokesperson for the state Department of Education said in an emailed statement to the Elizabethton Star.

During Tuesday’s School Board meeting, EHS senior Sadie Whitehead addressed the Board of Education about her and another student’s trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in a peaceful demonstration for gun control and school safety. The students proposed the idea of implementing a safe school system at EHS. The plan was just in the discussion phase and brought up during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting.