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Verify: How many DMV schools participated in the National Walkout Day?

How many students got unexcused absences?
Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of local students sit for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 students killed last month in a high school shooting in Florida, during a nationwide student walkout for gun control in front the White House in Washington, DC, March 14, 2018.


How many students got unexcused absences on National Walkout Day? Who participated?


We've confirmed 2,500 high school students left Montgomery County schools and are facing unexcused absences. Arlington County Public Schools confirmed roughly 30 students left school grounds, and it is up to each school to determine whether the absence is excused or not.


Montgomery County Public Schools- Derek Turner, spokesperson

Loudoun County Public Schools- Wayde Byard, spokesperson

Alexandria City Public Schools- Helen Llyod, spokesperson

Arlington County Public Schools- Frank Bellavia, spokesperson

Prince George's County Public Schools- John White, spokesperson

Prince William Public Schools- Diana Gulotta, spokesperson

Fairfax County Public Schools- John Torre, spokesperson

Distric of Columbia Public Schools- Kristina Sasccone, spokesperson


From schoolyard to the Capitol, WUSA9 walked step-by-step alongside students on National Walkout Day.

All morning our teams been listening to your comments on our Facebook Lives and social media. You wanted to know how many of students would be penalized.

Our Verify researchers went to work for you by calling school districts across the DMV. Here's what we found:

Montgomery County Public Schools

  • Both middle school and high school students helped organize events; however, middle schoolers remained on-campus
  • Roughly 2,500 high schoolers left campus and as noted in Superintendent Smith's letter on Monday, students who left campus without permission will receive an unexcused absence
  • There are 84,504 students in middle and high school in MCPS, so about .03 percent of them will face disciplinary actions.

Loudoun County Public Schools

  • Park View High School held the biggest walkout with 400 students. The walkout occurred during an advisory period, so there were no consequences. This is being treated as a tardy or unexcused absence. Typically, this will result in a lunch detention or 30 minutes after school.
  • Both high school and middle school participated.

Alexandria City Public Schools

  • An estimated 2,500 students walked off of school grounds
  • No disciplinary action was taken
  • Elementary students were counted as excused absences if they left school property

Arlington County Public Schools

  • Four high schools, five middle schools and two elementary schools participated: Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield high schools. H-B Woodlawn. Gunston, Kenmore, Swanson, Williamsburg and Jefferson middle schools. Langston High School Continuation Program, Arlington Community High School and then Glebe and Tuckahoe Elementary Schools
  • 3,500 students participated across all levels
  • 30 students left school to march to D.C.
  • It is up to each school to decide whether to count it as an excused or unexcused absence

District of Columbia Public Schools

  • All levels participated in the walkout
  • High schoolers and middle schoolers received absences if they marched. To have it not count as unexcused, a student needed a note from a parent and had to be back in class by 10:30 a.m.
  • Elementary school students who wanted to walk needed to be signed out and accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Prince George's County Public Schools

  • All high schools and middle schools participated
  • No disciplinary actions were taken

Prince William County Public Schools

  • About 10,000 students from 15 schools (High, Middle, Elementary schools) participate in walkouts today
  • No absences or suspensions

Fairfax County Public Schools

  • Several thousand participated across all levels
  • Teachers were directed to remain in class with students who did not participate. Students were warned that if they went beyond the planned 17 minute observance or exhibited inappropriate behavior, they would be disciplined. FCPS did not report any cases.


Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article mistakenly reported 30 students left school grounds in Fairfax County.

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