In the wake of the shooting in Parkland, students in many schools across the country have been inspired by the example set by the victims of the shooting.
To show support for the victims, and to make sure that events like Parkland are not repeated, the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group has planned a National School Walkout day on Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m.
The walkout is set to last 17 minutes to honor the 17 students, teachers and others who lost their lives that day.
Many counties in the DC and surrounding area have established specific guidelines concerning how the staff and administrators of their schools should respond to this event.
Some schools have been asked to allow students to participate in the event and not receive punishment for doing so.
Other schools are strongly encouraged to provide alternative programs and activities for students to participate, with the most popular option being a walk-in, where students can still leave class to participate, but they are given a supervised location on school property to do so.
Meanwhile, a few schools will not allow their students to participate at all, and those who chose to do so will receive appropriate disciplinary action.
Below is a list of the major counties in the DMV area and their specific policies for National Walkout Day:
Prince George’s County: Students are encouraged to participate in the walkout. Staff are supposed to provide a “safe location” on school campus where the students can to go for the walkout. Students are expected back at school promptly at 10:17 a.m.
Montgomery County: Students who leave schools will receive an unexcused absence. However, those who choose to remain in class are provided on-campus alternatives, such as an on-campus walkout to a field or somewhere else on campus, a discussion group, letter writing and banner making.
Frederick County: Teachers and administrators will work with students to identify safe safe, alternative activities and show support. School administrators are openly supportive of students. They are more concerned with safety than discipline.
Allegany County: Students wishing to participate in the walk-in will be provided a location on campus to assemble.
Anne Arundel County: Students are encouraged to engage in walk-in to another location on campus and participate in other activities in which to express their voice and opinion. There are no specific punishments/consequences in place for students who leave the building to participate in the walk out. However, students are expected to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.
Charles County: Students will be given a designated supervised area if they choose to participate in the walkout. They will not be able to make up any work that they miss during the walkout.
Loudon County: “We do not support walkouts or other activities that interrupt instruction, disrupt school, and/or cause a threat to safety. Students who leave class without permission, disrupt school activities, or otherwise disregard the code of conduct will receive the appropriate disciplinary action. Consequences for participating in these types of activities will depend on the context of the situation and the specifics of the student behavior. While students have the right to freedom of expression, they do not have the right to disrupt instruction or create an unsafe environment.”
Alexandria City: Students are to be provided safe and supervised assembly points on school property within which to engage in the walkout.
Arlington County: Students are encouraged to participate in the walkout, and will not penalized for doing so.
Spotsylvania County: Students are not allowed to leave school property to participate in the walkout. However, they are being provided the opportunity to participate in a walk-in instead, and will not be penalized for doing so.
We have reached out to, but have not heard back from: Howard County, Prince William County, Fairfax County and DC Public Schools. We will update the story when they respond.