Wilton High School students organized a 17-minute walkout today, Wednesday, March 14, to remember the 17 people killed in the mass shooting one month ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students began filing out of the school building onto Kristine Lilly Way in front of the school at 9:50 a.m., and the event began at 10 a.m..

The walkout was a somber memorial, as 17 students individually introduced themselves, and then announced the name of one of the victims, adding some brief, biographical information about each one. The point, said organizers, was to reinforce that the people killed in the shooting were just like students and teachers in the WHS community. There was an extended moment of silence and students who chose to attend were respectful and contemplative.

The walkout was not something the entire student body participated in. There were approximately 450 students who took part.

Police were present on campus and parents and community members were asked to not come on campus during the walkout.

The event happened simultaneously to thousands of other walkouts across the country as high school students have become increasingly vocal about school safety, gun violence and stronger gun legislation.

The story will be updated with further interviews conducted with student organizers on-site following the conclusion of the event.

[Editor’s Note:  There was also a walkout at Middlebrook Middle School. Given the more sensitive student population at the school, GOOD Morning Wilton did not cover that event.]

YouTube video

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith had noted in his “News from the Schools” that the walkout arranged by students would occur, and that WHS administrators worked closely with Wilton Police department prioritize student safety.

He reinforced that administrators had chosen to support students in their efforts, and reiterated that it was not intended to be a political stance.

“In schools all across America, students today are concerned for their physical safety and well-being and many have seized upon this opportunity to make their concerns known. As adults, we have a range of choices in how we respond to their concerns. In Wilton, we choose to support our students in this event. We choose to frame this event as a “ceremony, designed to foster empathy for victims of school violence and vigilance for safety in our schools.” While for some, that may sound disingenuous, it is also the truth. Our student leaders reserve the right to define the intent of their participation in this event in a way that has the most meaning for them. The way they have framed this has engendered the support of the adult school leaders,” Smith wrote.

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