National responses to the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida school shooting have grown in the weeks since it took place. Student protests, marches and walkouts have followed alongside a nationwide March for Our Lives planned for March 24. A student walkout is also scheduled for March 14 to protest gun violence.
ENOUGH! National School Walkout plans for students to leave class at 10 a.m. in their respective time zones for a 17-minute protest. Each minute represents one of the 17 people killed during the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Activism from the high school student survivors has continued to ripple into communities across the nation, including San Luis Obispo.
Cal Poly said students will have to choose to participate in the walkout on an individual basis.
“The university does not have an overarching policy. It would be up to students to work [it] out with their individual professors,” university spokesperson Matt Lazier said.
Many San Luis Obispo School District high schools are participating in the walkout, including Morro Bay High School, Arroyo Grande High School and San Luis Obispo High School, according to school administrators and Women’s March SLO. Women’s March SLO is helping with coordination of the walkout by answering questions from students, faculty and community members.
Administration at San Luis Obispo High School is aware of students’ plans to leave class, according to San Luis Obispo High School Principal Leslie O’Connor.
“We are aware and expect students will take the opportunity to leave class,” O’Connor said. “It is also expected they will return to class after and that class lessons will resume as planned.”
Lucia Mar Unified School District has set aside time for students to participate in the walkout and will allow students to speak out, according to an emergency preparedness note from Superintendent Raynee J. Daley.
“This may well be an opportunity for us to provide guidance on how students can be civically engaged and politically aware through an educational lense,” Daley wrote in the note.
The National Education Association (NEA) published a response to student walkouts protesting school gun violence, answering questions educators might have in response to the student’s protests. They emphasized working with students and administration to ensure a safe and peaceful outcome.
“If students do walkout, educators can be put in a difficult spot. On the one hand, educators are not legally protected if they participate in the walkout, but on the other hand, educators may be uncomfortable with some or all of their students leaving class unsupervised,” according to the NEA advisory.