Steamboat student leaders won’t join national walkout Friday
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Students across the country are planning to walk out of class Friday to recognize the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting as part of a series of events that were called for in the wake of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.
But the student leaders who have organized two demonstrations in Steamboat Springs since the Parkland shooting, said they have decided not to hold an event Friday.
“We decided not to do the walkout on Friday because we think students would leave school with intentions not related to the gun reform in schools issue,” Steamboat Springs High School senior Amanda Perlman texted to the paper late Wednesday afternoon. “We want to keep the momentum for change going, but this event simply would not be effective.”
The Steamboat Springs School District is letting students and families decide whether or not to participate in the national walkout, but students who are not excused from school by their parents on Friday will be marked absent if they chose to leave class to protest.
“We are aware that there is a national student walkout planned for Friday, April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. It appears that the national organizers of the April 20 event are calling for high school students to walk out at 10:00 a.m. until the end of the school day,” Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks said in a letter that was posted on the district’s website. “Please be aware that students who leave school for the day will be marked absent and unexcused unless a parent calls to excuse them.”
Traditionally, attendance on the final day of classes before spring break is lower than usual as many families head out of town early to get a jump start on spring getaways. However, in the letter, Meeks stated that school will be in session and students are expected to be in class.
“We hope that those students who choose to participate on April 20 will be as respectful, peaceful and safe in their efforts as they have been in similar efforts thus far,” Meeks wrote in the letter.
The Parkland shooting that inspired many young people to protest gun violence left 17 students and staff dead. Students across the country walked out of class on March 14, including between 150 and 200 in Steamboat, as part of National School Walkout. A large crowd also showed up on the courthouse lawn as part of “March For Our Lives” protest March 24.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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