Local schools are not sure what to expect during a national school walkout that is being organized by the Women’s March Youth Empower group later this month.
The walkout is planned for Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m. local time in schools around the country, and it’s expected to last 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 victims of the school shooting in Florida last month.
The walkout is organized by EMPOWER, the Woman’s March youth branch, and will take place one month after the school shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
According to the the Women’s March website, the marches have one mission and that is to put pressure on congress to pass gun reform laws and make schools safer, in the wake of the Florida school shootings.
Umpqua Community College president Debra Thatcher said she expects some kind of activity on the campus that day, but nothing specific has been planned yet.
“There are discussions at this point,” Thatcher said. “We actually have written policy, students and faculty are free to express their opinions and not be harassed for doing so.”
Thatcher said the marchers just can’t compromise the safety of anyone on campus, and can’t damage property. So as long as they don’t impede the normal operations of the college, they’re allowed to express their opinions.
“We support the students in their desires to speak out on topics that may be quite controversial.” she said.
In a county where a lot of people carry guns, near the location of a mass shooting, the topic is a tough one to discuss.
Roseburg High School Principal Jill Weber said they’ve had no indication of any planned walkout yet.
“But if the students decide to, we would just follow all policies and laws regarding that, and students do have the right to freedom of speech and assembly,” Weber said.
Students at a Salem school staged a walkout last week to protest the gun violence. A Portland TV station KGW-TV reported about 200 students walked out of class Friday afternoon at McKay High School protesting school shootings and urging more gun controls.
The Women’s March Youth Empower group is planning another national walkout for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting in Colorado.