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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 1:00 am

Local schools have plans for walkout effort

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Students in Allen County might not crowd outside their schools at 10 a.m. today, but that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't participating in a nationwide movement in response to last month's deadly school shooting in Florida.

Organizers behind the Women's March planned a national school walkout for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. to protest lawmakers' inaction to gun violence in schools.

Fourteen students and three faculty members died in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The nationally publicized walkout has raised safety concerns among local school districts. Students here could face consequences for walking out, such as being marked truant.

Fort Wayne Community Schools students will be allowed to participate in indoor events, which vary by school.

“We do intend to allow that to happen,” Superintendent Wendy Robinson said at Monday's school board meeting. “We are not going to force students to be a part of it, and we're asking adults to allow this to be an activity, a civics activity, for students.”

Northwest Allen supports a “walkup” that encourages students to share a positive message with 14 students and three teachers.

In Southwest Allen, Homestead High School students are using Twitter to encourage classmates to wear orange in remembrance of Parkland, Florida. They also plan to launch a letter-writing campaign directed at Indiana congressmen requesting improved school safety.

Heritage Junior-Senior High, an East Allen school, plans to have students and staff honor the shooting victims by standing in their classrooms for 17 seconds.

At least one outdoor observance is planned. Concordia Lutheran High School will hold a 17-minute remembrance and prayer event in the parking lot but will be moved inside if it rains. Students, parents, teachers and staff may participate.

Robinson noted FWCS activities are for students only.

“Our stance is that this is an opportunity for students to express, not for the adults to impose their political views,” she said.

asloboda@jg.net