Students, school districts prepare for school safety walkouts in Tri-Cities
TRI-CITIES, Wash. —
Several students in the Tri-Cities are getting ready to protest Wednesday with a walkout during school.
The walkout is expected to start at 10 a.m. as a way to bring attention to school safety issues.
"Walkouts have been proven effective in the past. It's a good way to make a peaceful protest during school hours,” says student Tori Ashley, who’s helping to plan a walkout at Delta High School.
The walkout at Delta High School is set to take place exactly one month after 17 people died in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Ashley says the walk out will only last for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim killed.
While it's unclear if students from other schools will hold their own walkouts, both Pasco and Richland School Districts say they're prepared for the possibility.
RSD’s communications director Steve Aagaard says they've informed Richland Police as a way to keep students safe.
"Students have a constitutional right to, if they feel strongly about something, they can walk out of class to protest something if they so feel, but that doesn't change the fact that instruction's going to continue in the classroom, even if a few students get up and walk out," says Aagaard.
Both RSD and PSD says students planning to walkout will be marked tardy, unexcused or unverified. However, parents can work with the districts to get that changed to an excused absence.
After the walkout, Ashley says the students will return back to class.
She adds that she hopes the walkout will start a conversation and find a solution to school safety.
"We want our people in charge like our legislators, our representatives, the superintendents, we want them to come up with ways to make our schools safer so that every student can get the education that they deserve without having to fear for their safety.”