In conjunction with the nationwide “March for Our Lives” student walkouts to protest gun violence, Wilton High School students are organizing to walk out of class on Wednesday, March 14. What’s more, not only will they do so with permission from school administrators, but they’ll have the school’s principal standing with them “in solidarity.”
Student organizers say that, like participants at other high schools across the country, many WHS students and teachers will participate on March 14 in a 17-minute walkout to represent one minute for each victim murdered at the Parkland, FL shooting on Feb. 14. The student leaders posted a mission statement on a Facebook event page for participants:
“Students (and teachers) will stand up and walk out the front doors in the lobby and gather for 17 minutes outside to make a statement to Congress, the President, and other lawmakers that we have had ENOUGH. We should feel safe at our school, students deserve to come to a place where the expectation is to remain safe, and parents should be able to send their children to school and see them return home safely at the end of each day. We at Wilton High School must demand action to prevent what no student, family, or teacher should every have to experience. #ENOUGH.”
The page includes a disclaimer noting that the event is not organized by the school or district administration. However, students are keeping school officials and administrators informed as plans are solidified.
Principal Robert O’Donnell says he is definitely aware of the students’ plans, and that the administration is working with student leaders and the student body to make sure that order and safety is paramount. Even more, O’Donnell tells GOOD Morning Wilton that he plans to walk out alongside the students.
“My interactions with students about the issue, not surprisingly knowing our outstanding students, has been collaborative and productive. I believe that working together our students can organize an event that will be meaningful and have a sustained impact. Of course, we will help design a plan to maintain order and safety while affording students a meaningful opportunity to participate in this very important debate. I, personally, will be walking with them in solidarity.
“This is a valuable learning opportunity related to our 21st Century Learning Expectation on engagement as we support the development of knowledge, skills, values and motivation necessary to make a difference in our school, community, and society. Our students have unlimited potential to advocate for and achieve sustained improvement in the world around us.”
Student organizers are limiting participation in the walkout to current WHS students and staff only. In addition, they are hoping to restrict responses via their Facebook page about interest in attending the walkout to only students and staff, in order to collect accurate information for the national participant tallies.
Participants are asked to wear orange, the color symbolizing anti-gun violence; they will gather outside the high school’s front lobby, on the sidewalk. Students who are walking out are asked to refrain from disturbing any members of the WHS community who choose to remain in the classrooms. They will return to class at 10:18 a.m., after observing the 17-minute walkout.